DAY 1: THE ISLAND OF NGOR
The first day landing in Senegal, I visited the island of Ngor. Traveling by boat to the island, we had a traditional Senegalese meal that included fish, rice, chicken, a sauce containing onions and carrots, and beer. On the island, there were many locals that sold art, handmade jewelry, and clothing from traditional fabrics. The streets were tagged with graffiti art and paintings that expressed the minds of the locals. Ngor is known for its laid back environment and is the home to many surfers.
DAY 2: THE ISLAND OF GORÉE
I had the privilege of visiting the island of Gorée. The island is known for its astounding history. Our friend, born and raised on the island of Gorée, gave us the insiders tour. My favorite and most emotional part about the island was visiting the House of Slaves. The place where over 12 million slaves were shipped all throughout the Americas, Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Cuba, and many other places. We had a chance to stand in each room where the slaves were separated by sex and age. Reflecting on the conditions and seeing the Door of No Return, made it emotional for everyone. The Door of No Return reflects the moment the slaves were shipped away, to never see their homes again. It also reflects the slaves that did not make it onto the boat due to illness, in which they were thrown out into the water, where they couldn't survive. Today it is a landmark and one of the most talked about places in your school history books when referring to this time in history. There are also monumental canons around the island in which we met a few men selling their sculptures and paintings. Art on the island of Gorée is everywhere, and just like America, they absolutely love Tupac! This was one of my best days spent in Dakar, Senegal. I could never forget this day.
DAY 3: CHEZ SALIM - LAC ROSE & The Seed Project's Culture Night
Lac Rose, also known as the Pink Lake, was once a lake filled with fish. Later, the fish ended up disappearing one by one and the lake produced salt. With the position of the sun and also the salt, the lake can give off the same effect of pink lemonade (but not as delightful if you drink it). Men and women gather buckets and boats of salt and divide them into sections on the shore. Most of the salt is exported and used in cities that need salt for the ground, to disintegrate the ice on the sidewalks. We visited the nearby villages, sand dunes and the beach. This whole journey was brought to us by four wheelers and a tour guide. Crops of mint and turnips grew in between villages, with even a fresh water supply dug from the ground. After the festivities, we ate on the shores local restaurant and later attended culture night at The Seed Academy.
DAY 4 & 5: THE SEED ACADEMY
The Seed Academy is a non profit organization that runs an academy for young boys and girls. They use basketball and education as their platform to prepare opportunities in Senegal. With both education and talent, kids are prone to opportunities outside of Africa with scholarships and many more benefits. The days spent with the Seed Academy were amazing. The kids had been working hard and playing against each other all season in basketball games called the Hoop Forum. For lunch that day, we had a traditional Senegalese meal with local drinks of ginger, chicken and sautéed onion, and rice. The last day held the final game at the Marius Ndiaye Stadium. East won vs. West as NBA players Wilson Chandler of the Denver Nuggets and Gorgui Dieng of the Minnesota Timberwolves helped coach both sides. The Seed Academy showed so much love and were great hosts during my stay in Senegal. This isn't a farewell message, 'cause I'll be back!