By Latane Montague
We arrived on the Sine Saloum Delta about an hour before sunset. We were shown to our rooms and then we were offered a welcoming drink called bissap (hibiscus juice). This was an excellent example of the hospitality and welcoming nature that people have here. After the amazing drink and dinner, we then took turns sharing stories during our first nightly discussion. The next morning we woke up after a night full of anticipation. We had a delicious breakfast of homemade bread and jams – the strawberry was my favorite!
Then the fun started. Some took walks down the beach to explore the mangroves and the island, some went kayaking, and some went fishing. After a morning session, we had lunch. Lunch was rice and fish. The fish tasted like the grilled fish I have had back home but the rice was unlike anything I have had before – spicy and flavorful.
In the late afternoon, we took horse carts to the nearby village of Mar Lodj. In the village, we were able to see differences from the towns and cities we had driven through on our way to the Delta. When we arrived, the first thing we saw was a Catholic Church. We ventured through the village and saw a second religion represented – animism. There were three trees, one was huge and buttressed, the Fromagier, and another was intertwined with it. The third was a large palm resting on the second tree. We learned that these trees are a sacred space for animism. A mosque down the road gave us a glimpse of a third religion. I found it amazing that three religions could exist in this small village and get along with each other. We saw many kids playing and laughing who were interested in us and we played with. This village was truly amazing and the people were so welcoming. They had not one but three religions that coexist without trouble.
I feel like I was a teacher on my day. I was thinking about the questions I was going to ask the group, and it make me take ownership of my experience and get the most out of our visit to the village. I have a better understanding of what it feels like to be a teacher, trying to stay one step ahead, and I want to use this experience to help have a better understanding moving forward of this place we get to see and explore. A deeper meaning!