This Is Just the Beginning

Jake Filderman - Senegal

September 28, 2010

When will it finally sink in that I really am about to go on the adventure of a lifetime? Surely the GCY training sessions should have hammered that fact into my head by now. Through all this learning how to resolve conflict, speaking with members of congress, and acquiring blogging skills, a simple fact has managed to evade my mind: in less that two weeks, Senegal will be my home.

But don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s a great feeling to finally be doing something that is relevant, an absent feeling throughout the majority of high school. The skills I’m learning here at the GCY Training Institute are skills that I’ll be able to almost immediately utilize during my apprenticeship in Senegal, and that’s something that excites me beyond words.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what exactly I want to take away from this experience, and I’ve come to an early conclusion that I want to achieve total immersion. By the time I leave, I want to not only feel like I’m returning home, I want to feel like I’m leaving home as well. I want to feel like I have become a member of the community I live in as opposed to simply an American staying in a house for 8 months. Most of all, I want to feel like I made some sort of significant contribution, something that will ensure that when people in the community remember me, they think of how I bettered their lives in some way.

The excitement is out of control at this point, I leave Friday morning! I think that, while writing this blog post, it finally hit me. I’m spending the next 8 months of my life in Senegal: a completely new culture, a completely new country, and completely new people. Bring it on.

Jake Filderman