Village Lessons

By Ashton Willcox


When I went to Senegal, I found a united, peaceful country that had rich culture, art, and food.

The first thing I noticed was how good the Senegalese tea was.  Making the tea was a long process but when it was finished it was the best tea I have ever had.  We all enjoyed the many rounds of tea we had almost every day.

Most meals consisted of six people sitting around a  large shared bowl of meat and rice and eating their part of the bowl. In Senegalese culture, the adults would eat first and then the children would eat the leftovers.  The oldest person in the circle made sure everyone got some of the meat and vegetables.  It was an interesting cultural experience.

I also really enjoyed the village, where even though I may have not looked like the people, spoke the same language, or even had the same lifestyle, we were treated like family. We would help out with daily life in the village, for example helping the women out with cleaning clothes, and cooking meals, or playing soccer with the little kids. Then we would sit around the fire at night and talk and drink more tea, (Tea was a big part of our day).

After traveling back to Dakar, I thought to myself about how these people who lived in this village didn’t have as much as we have, and yet they live happier than most Americans. It made me think about how sometimes we are spoiled and we just want more and take the more do it for myself and not do it for others.  This does not lead to the happiness I saw in the village.

The village taught me that when a community is together, nothing can stop it.

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