Our trip was separated into two parts. Today, I'm going to tell you all about the first part (the first few days). The trip started off pretty rough 'cause we traveled for 19 hours which included 8 hours of waiting at Charles-de-Gaulle. Ugh...That was long! But when we arrived in Dakar I finally realized why it was worth the "torture". The first thing I noticed when I stepped out of the plane was the smell. It was a strong smell alright. It wasn't gross or anything, but it wasn't charming either. It was the scent of sea water, humidity and fish. Delicious, don't you think?
I got used to it very quickly. Or let's just say I was too busy being impressed by this new place I was in. We were in the bus on the way to our hotel and I couldn't believe what I was getting into. The buildings were all demolished, there was trash all over and poor people all over. I was shocked and scared and amazed all at once. I had never seen something quite like this before. I later grew to find it very normal. We even came back to the hotel at the end of the trip and the neighborhood seemed much "richer" and safer than everything we had seen.
The next day, we were already off visiting Dakar. Le phare des mamelles, la mosquée des mamelles, la statue de la renaissance, etc. It was all very beautiful and fascinating. We spent one last night there before leaving for our next destination: Thies and Keur Moussa. Some of my best memories were there. The first day we went to a catholic monastery. It was absolutely gorgeous and peaceful. We walked around and got to eat grapefruit out of the tree. They were surprisingly very sweet. Later that day we met up with the students of a vocational school and we visited a rug museum and a small market which was nice, because I got to discover more about Senegalese handcraft art and about the general culture by talking to the youngsters. After that we went to our hostile and some scouts joined us to do a show. In reality it wasn't really a show, it was a group activity including singing and dancing. That day filled my heart up with so much joy. You couldn't imagine how happy I was.
The next day, we went back to the vocational school. We spent half the day planting trees and painting a building. It wasn't charity work or anything, it was more a way to connect more with the people there. In the afternoon, we danced and played sports and danced once more. They played drums while we learned some new footsteps. I am proud to say that many people said I moved like an African woman and was a great dancer. I felt so honored! To be honest, I just loved the integration of dance in their everyday lives. They danced all the time. It wasn't considered a performance art, but more of a way of letting out your emotions and feeling rejoiced. It made me realized how important this activity was in my life. Therefore, I will probably study dance when I finish high school. A. and I even got some kind of a grant to join the Montreal Contemporary Dance School. Anyways, this trip really opened my eyes on how much of a passion dance is to me. And thus, I finish part one.
Before I leave here are two quotes some guys told me at the school. It's as if they were meant for me.
"If you want something in life ask or else nothing will ever happen."
"Nothing is impossible. You just have to try a few times before you succeed."