Senegambian exchange ‘filled a gap of knowledge’

While on the Africa Exchange, ARHS students, above, visited the coast of Senegal.Photo: Yacine Norris

After three weeks of travel to Senegal and The Gambia, ARHS students felt like they not only experienced the culture, but learned a great deal.

“For me, it filled a gap of knowledge that I didn’t know I had,” said junior Liam Felton. “It made me think about how much I have, what I need versus what I want, and how to be happy.”

The Senegambian Scholars is an exchange program through which ARHS students and faculty travel to Senegal every other year.

Retired ARHS English teacher Bruce Penimann and retired special education teacher Momodou Sarr are the advisors and were the founders of the club.

Perspective was not the only thing gained on the trip.

Junior Yacine Norris-fall said the trip was the opportunity of a lifetime.

“It made me more in touch with my Senegalese side,” she said, noting she was able to meet Senegalese family members on her father’s side for the first time.

“I know I won’t have a lot of other opportunities to fully experience my culture,” she said.

On the trip, the students spent a large amount of time with their hosts.

When asked about how the relationship was, student Norris-Fall said, “She was very welcoming. We got very close since we lived together.”

One of the biggest differences in culture for some students was how big religion is in their culture.

“Everyone there was extremely religious,” said Norris Fall. “They prayed five times a day.”

The trip started in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. This is the most developed place they visited on the trip.

They were able to see some of the wealthiest and most developed parts of Africa, as well as smaller, less developed, and less wealthy villages.

One of the highlights of the trip was the visit to Goree Island, off the coast of Dakar, where the slave trade took place.

“It was very interesting to see all the history,” Felton said.