The first day in Senegal

By Rhyan and Faith

The first day in Senegal set the tone for the days to come. During the first few hours, we were exposed to new people, food, language and culture. It was heartwarming – so many Senegalese people who wanted to interact with us immediately. Their hospitality (they call it teranga) gave us the sense that we have been here for years even though we can’t speak the language and just got off the plane.

We were eager to return the love and did so throughout our first day. We were worried though about how language could stop things short. Only Mr. Alter speaks French, so how could we really communicate? We didn’t even know how to ask where the bathroom was. We worried that this bump in the road would make our trip hard to enjoy.

Later in the day, we learned this would not be as limiting as we thought. We went to a beach near our rental house and were immediately approached by adorable little kids. Quickly we were all playing together. We started a large game of beach soccer while others splashed water on each other and ran up and down the beach. We didn’t need much language.

As a soccer player (Rhyan), I thought it was going to be a really long game and not very fun because we couldn’t communicate. However, exactly the opposite occurred. We, the foreigners and the locals, were able to communicate naturally. Everyone had an amazing time linking passes and smiles. A high five at the end was just enough to say ‘good game.’ It didn’t matter the score.

This day changed a lot of pre set perspectives that we both had going into the trip. Our first day was a reassuring one. We learned that this trip would be about how we have things in common. It was going to be about relationships. We are so excited to experience and learn through ways of life we could never imagine.

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