Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Languagely Self-Righteous

The winds of Peace Corps service have brought me to Dakar to work at a week-long English language camp for Senegalese high school students. The program is funded by the US Embassy and is a chance for students to get a leg up on English comprehension during their summer vacation. We played lots of games with the students including "Simon Says," "Dodgeball," and "Capture the Flag," as well as many other adolescent favorites. The students also performed sketches that sparked very interesting and intelligent discussions about various Senegalese topics such as polygamy versus monogamy, HIV/AIDS, and gender inequality in Senegal. The games and projects gave the students the chance to practice their leadership and communication skills, which I believe to be somewhat lacking in the Senegalese educational system.

This last week was so much fun and the kids were so great that it was really hard to leave. On the last day the students surprised us by doing a presentation thanking us for coming and for our help and enthusiasm. They also gave us gifts of Senegalese clothes, necklaces, and drawings that were completely unexpected. We were all extremely touched. At the end of class we were all taking pictures and exchanging numbers when the group gradually broke out into song and started clapping, then urged us to dance-- a Senegalese farewell. I'm gonna miss those crazy cats.

Pictures to come...