Coming back from Senegal a common problem that I ran into was that no matter how detailed I explained a story from my year in Senegal, the person listening could never really understand what it was like: why I wasn’t scared; why I didn’t find it weird; how I wasn’t helping them- they were helping me.
I figured that if the issue was not being able to recreate the feeling for them, then I had to find a medium that I felt would make them feel the most.
For me music and visuals can transport my emotions, and even my reality. I decided to make a video with pictures and video from my year in Senegal, but instead of having just one or two songs as the backdrop, I decided to pick songs with specific significance to my year. I organized the photos and videos in as chronological order as I could recollect, and I situated the different songs in order of when and why in my gap year they had a significance.
This solution isn’t all encompassing. It doesn’t fix the fact that people still hear my stories from the comfort of their own cultures, thus making it harder for them to accept the cultural differences as not weird or less than, but just different. However, I think it’s a step in the right direction, and I hope it entices people to find out more about Senegal with more of an open mind.