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Photo Credits: Andrew Kleindolph 


Blog Posts That I Wrote in Senegal

It's Been Three Days


We arrived in Dakar tired and sleep deprived. 24 hours of travel had worn us down. We were unprepared to be transported to a different world.

Our lives are changing. Our families are growing.

We have perfected the act of communicating through charades. Playing cards during down time. Drawing with our families. Singing songs from middle school dances. Fighting the plague. Taking showers with bottles. The importance of bug spray. Forgiveness and acceptance. Acceptance of different cultures and forgiving the mistakes each makes. Most importantly never leave the house without water.

- Adji (Audre )

Looking Forward


I don’t know how to explain this experience. I don’t think there are words. This trip is changing me in ways I never thought it would. I never paid much attention to the poverty within San Francisco itself. I knew it was there; I live on the Haight where most of the homeless people like to reside. I’ve worked in soup kitchens and food banks, but I’ve always been at a distance never fully acknowledging the difference in wealth. Over the past year I have grown a lot, I have though more and more about how privileged I am, but my definition of privilege has been redefined. I have everything I could ever need. I have good clean water, especially since it’s from Hetch Hetchy, I have a nice roof over my head my own bed, parents who love me and support me.  What I’m struggling with right now is how I’m going to move forward. What am I going to do after this trip for the people who are struggling right on my doorstep? What am I going to do about the poverty and the food insecurity? But I know that I can’t just ignore it anymore. Here in Senegal and in San Francisco.

-   Adji (Audre)



I think it’s impossible to compare life in San Francisco to life in Senegal. I don’t know if they truly live in poverty. Yes they don’t have all the material goods we have in San Francisco, but they also have a lot of valuable things we don’t have. In Senegal they value each other, they value the people around them and they treat every person they see with respect. In San Francisco that is not the case. There is not a real sense of community outside of ourselves. In Senegal the family is a family and they would do anything for each other. Personally I think that is way more valuable than my iphone or my laptop. Is that poverty or is that just different values. Of course there are things that do not work as well as they should. There is no health care system or a power source that does not have constant power outages. But I don’t know if that is poverty.

            This whole trip has made me think a lot differently about my life, but also about the definitions that define my life. Is poverty the lack of a health care system or the lack of a community? The mindset of going to a African country to help the poor people and fix everything that is different from America is completely wrong and sounds a lot like colonization. I don’t think that’s what we are doing here, but I think we also have to be conscientious of the line that can easily be crossed.

            I still haven’t come up with a definition of poverty. I don’t have a definition for enough or for life or for really anything. I think I may have gotten more confused than I was before, but I think that I will understand life (I don’t really know what that entails) a lot better than I did before. I have not finished processing half of the things that happened in the village and I don’t know if I will ever know just how much this trip has changed me.

-Adji Ndoye (Audre) 

Am I Home?


I’m back in San Francisco. In the comfort of my own bed. But I can only think of my family that are currently sleeping thousands of miles away. I miss my brothers and sisters. I miss dumping all of the sand out of my shoes at the end of the say and feeling proud when it turned into a small mountain. I miss taking photos of people because they ask. “mejor mejor” (show me show me) I miss not understanding what people are saying. I miss laying down and listening to my family speak in wolof. I miss my sisters mischievous smile and my brothers funny faces. I miss my new family. I miss my new home. 

-Adji (Audre) 

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