By Lexy Carr

The group went through many endings during this trip, leaving our hearts full of hurt and sadness as well as happiness and new knowledge that will affect us as students and people for the rest of our lives. We may be happy about ending the abrupt early mornings that the donkeys and chickens brought at Kecouta’s Village, but we will truly miss the warm coat of love from the adults and the smiles of the jovial children of the village. Leaving the village may have been the saddest part of the trip, tears from everyone and small comments, most being “I’ll never see these people again.” Though we were reassured that there are other ways to keep our relationship with Ngognani, Kecouta’s village, strong. 

The next saddest moment followed shortly after our departure of Ngognani: dropping off a friend that had spent most of the trip with us, Bandia. Not only was he a respectful young man who determinedly practiced his English, but he was also a cool guy to hang around. Darius could vouch for this, being as though he had many silent conversations with Bandia during our time in Ngognani. Through hand movements and a little bit of charades, they were able to build what one can describe as a brotherhood. As they shared their last hug I realized that a strong friendship can be maintained with little to no words.

As the group comes to final day in Senegal, we begin to reflect on the various challenges and experiences we faced and how quickly we were able to adapt. Dodging street vendors became second nature. Ice is now a figment of my imagination. The phrase “Thank you” has been replaced by “Mercí” and bucket baths aren’t so bad. My first time out of the country has been an eventful and emotional one and the start of many travels.

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