- Group:Beaver Country Day School
- Age:16-18 years old
- Group Size:17 students 3 Chaperones
- Project:French and Community
- Destination:St. Louis, Senegal
The idea behind this trip came from the common language exchange programme. Instead of setting off to Paris the students and teachers of the Beaver County Day School had other ideas and left for the city of St Louis in Senegal. The group decided upon a combination of care work and community work allowing themselves to be immersed in a different culture, interacting in a foreign language and with the added opportunity to make a difference on one of our worthwhile care placements.
What did they do?
The focus of the trip was French language immersion and service. The group stayed with local host families in the city of St. Louis, and worked in kindergartens and centers for the street children (Talibés).
The group taught English, Maths and French to over 40 children in the mornings, whilst their afternoons were spent building bedrooms for the talibés. The end of the two weeks arrived and the group managed to not only build two bedrooms but also spend time helping with the children’s cleanliness and medical issues. In addition to these numerous activities many of the students enjoyed playing football with the children in the afternoons.
One key element of the trip was the French language, living with a local family and working with local people on a daily basis provided the perfect opportunity for the students to put into practice what they had been learning throughout the school year.
At the weekend the volunteers travelled south to the desert to Lompoul renown for being the only desert in Senegal and one of the smallest deserts in the world. During the journey there the volunteers got to swim in the ocean, visit a local village, sip freshly made mint tea and watch the fishermen bringing in their catch for the day in their colorful fishing boats. The campsite the volunteers were staying at was breathtaking the huge sand dunes provided the perfect backdrop to the traditional Mauritanian tents and with the prospect of campfires, a starry night sky, traditional music and camel rides it was definitely a weekend to remember.
Thoughts from the group
"I loved living with a host family, being immerses in Senegalese culture. In 2 weeks time my French improved immensely. I will never forget my stay in Senegal. This feels like the 4th or 5th world.
"Standing in front of a class of kids I'd grown to love made me feel so lucky to get the chance to work in a school. This experience was absolutely amazing. I did not expect it to be as mentally and emotionally demanding as it was, but by focusing on my growth as a person, the difficulties didn't really matter."
"We should all be proud of ourselves. We really helped; we didn't just send money. This is an amazing experience that can't be explained in words.
This case study may include references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.
Read more about Care & Community in Senegal.