By Zach Magnuson

I have experienced very different strong feelings on this trip. First, when we arrived and went to Alter’s friend’s house, I looked out the window and observed many people. I started to feel bad. I perceived poverty, trash, and disease. There was a kid on a wheelchair that was so excited to see us. As we pulled away, he became very sad. Seeing that broke my heart. But day after today that started to fade.

Soon, I felt something else, a deeper feeling. By the last day, I felt very jealous. During the trip, I have felt more love than I tend to sense even back home. I feel awe at the communities here, where people live their lives together, for each other. Everyone tries to better other’s situations.

I like to be barefoot and I can’t tell you how many people have offered me shoes by kids and adults.

I think we can all learn a lot from the people here, especially in our isolated screen-filled days.

Another thing I have noticed is that people take offense if you don’t let them help you. When we went to the village, I saw kids argue over who got to carry our stuff from the van. They make it their job to care.

If I am being honest, we should all step up. I never see this behavior back home. I hope as I try to become like the people I saw here, I can rub some of the love of Senegal off on other people.

3 responses to “Contradicting Feelings”

  1. jrhomer Avatar

    Thanks, Zach! Your words are inspiring. Just think if we all did just a little bit better … 🤔

  2. A Showalter Avatar
    A Showalter

    Thanks for this post, Zach. What you noticed about yourself is familiar to me from other trips. Evolving feelings and understandings about a place and a people show that you are digging in and not staying content with your first reactions. This is what engaged travel should be. Not entertainment–it’s mind-expansion and heart-expansion. Good stuff.

  3. jbyersccs Avatar

    Zach, you are pulling out the right messages and themes. I love your concept of “step up” in terms of creating better, truer, community. Making it “our job to care” as you put it so well.

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