Before embarking on this journey across the world, I knew very little about Africa, Senegal, and especially Senegal’s capital, Dakar. This experience as a whole will be about discovering the many unknowns of these places. I have lived in Dakar for the past month. It has been interesting, exciting, and unforgettable.
After a long eight hour flight from New York City, the reality of being in Africa set in. The houses, people, and the cars are nothing like I expected. Many of the Senegalese people would look at us walking out of the airport in surprise and curiosity. That was only the beginning of this great adventure to Dakar and beyond.
Dakar is one of the most populated cities in West Africa. Dakar has many Western customs within it, including an upper class shopping center, a bowling alley, TV, Wi-Fi, etc. It has many African customs as well, including mini-boutiques on pretty much every corner containing beverages, food, shoes, fresh fruit, and other necessities; vendors at stop lights and roundabouts selling anything from sunglasses to tissues; and hundreds of colorful 25-seater buses that take people all around the city and suburbs for about $2.
I have discovered much of the unknown in Dakar. I went to several nice beaches, the national soccer stadium, and the artisan village, where famous Senegalese artists live and display their work. My host brother and I walked around several neighborhoods surrounding ours, Liberty One. One day, we walked through a refuge center for flood victims in Dakar. There were people everywhere being given food, water, and shelter. Another day, we went to a photo exhibit of a famous Senegalese photographer at a German art institute. Dakar was only the beginning of my discovery in Senegal.
In October, I will be starting my apprenticeship in Gueye Mekhe, Senegal. My apprenticeship will consist of assisting with the running of a credit union, go on field trips with staff to participate in agricutlural projects in the area, and providing English classes to staff. I am very excited to venture into the unknown. Discovery is around every corner.