Zion Barnett-Bishop (Senegal)
Where have you been?
I’ve just been living to be honest! I’m in Senegal, Taiba Ndiaye to be exact.
How much longer are you going to be out there?
Well, as I am writing this it is February 2nd, so around 2 more months.
How is it?
That’s a loaded question. Some days I wake up with overwhelming gratitude and other days I wake with overwhelming sadness. Overall, Senegal is a beautiful place with beautiful people and culture. Senegal is not unlike any other country, there are rude and mean people, as well as, communities plagued with poverty.
You’re not coming back are you?
I am. I love Senegal (especially Dakar), but I also miss home. I have things that I would like to pursue in the US, but I would love to return one day.
You live there? I thought that you would be living in a hut?
This is a common misconception about African countries. There are communities that have huts, but I personally have seen very few. Most people live in 1-3 story homes with functioning washrooms, rooms, sitting areas, kitchens, etc… My home in Senegal is actually one of the nicest houses I’ve ever lived in.
What do you do there?
I have an apprenticeship at a farm. I have a pretty regular schedule and I don’t always realize that this experience is unique. I think this is why I’ve been having a hard time with the idea of blogging, I’m just living life and it just doesn’t seem that special.
How is your family?
They’re nice people. I have a host father and mother, along with plenty of siblings and cousins. I feel like I’m apart of the family, but a lot of the time I feel like an outsider. It’s a day to day thing. Some days are better than others, but we are constantly communicating even if I’m terrible at speaking Wolof.
What are your plans for after Senegal?
I plan on securing a summer internship, as well as, a year long data analytics internship starting in fall. I want to attend college and major in computer science and/or computer engineering.
Do you regret going to Senegal?
No. I think I have grown through this time. I feel more confident, less stubborn, and more understanding. I’ve met great people in not just my community, but in my Senegal cohort as well. Without this journey I wouldn’t be the person I am now, so I would have it no other way.