An incredible journey by some of our WUHS students as they traveled to Senegal during our winter recess. We invite you to read the brief comments and reflections below that describe this meaningful and life-changing experience. A big think you to Keri Bristow, John & Wendy Hiers as well as our partners at Green Across The World. Make sure to click on the photo to enjoy all of the magnificant student photos.
Lily Adler, ‘18
No other experience will come close to what we have received during our time in Senegal. Not only did we integrate ourselves with the culture, but we had the bittersweet first hand experience of friendship. It was like nothing else I have ever experienced to meet new people and then 3 minutes later have a friend for life. It was extremely hard to say good bye, but after I am able to realize it isn't really good bye until one of us gives up.
Hunter Balch '17
For the last day of the trip I have come to realize two things! One is that the hospitality of everyone in Senegal is really uplifting! They are so friendly and kind and very easy to become friends with! The art of this culture is also amazing! They save and preserve every little thing. Secondly the trees and plants here are very cool! They say the Baobab trees are sacred and even use everything from the tree. From the glue being used in the sand art or even using the sap for milk! I have had a great trip here and will remember it for the rest of my life! Our new friends will not be forgotten and we will continue to stay in touch! Senegal is and has been spectacular!
Morgan Bertholdt ‘19
Our trip to Senegal changed me for the better. We arrived in a new place surrounded by different things and cultures and were welcomed with open arms and treated like family by the Senegalese people. We were fortunate enough to be able to attend many cultural events such as a festival of dance, a wrestling match and we ate lots of delicious Senegalese foods. I'm coming away from this trip with a deeper connection to human kind and a better understanding of who African people are. Furthermore, I'm going home with a full heart thanks to the Senegalese, they dance, sing, laugh and smile more than anyone I've ever known. The Senegal people have shown me what it means to be happy and just enjoy life. One of my good friends that I made was a girl named Adji from Fatick. Adji told me "I am going to go home and tell my Mom and Dad that I am proud to have you as my new friend Morgan." Earlier Adji told me all about how her dream is to visit the U.S and to some day become a doctor. I plan to stay in touch with Adji and to hopefully some day see her in the U.S. I left Africa with the knowledge and inspiration that no matter your starting place, you need to dream big and pursue those dreams. It was so great to get to know so much about Adji and all of the other fantastic people who we met during our journey. This trip was a trip of a lifetime and won't soon be forgotten.
It's the last day here in Senegal and I'm sad to leave. It's such an amazing culture and the people are all so welcoming and open. The friends we got to make in Fatick were all so kind and I will miss them a great deal. The art and music and clothes are all so beautiful and it was very cool to be able to partake in such great aspects of their culture. This trip has really helped solidify my desire to be able to help the world and truly make a difference in the near future.
Tyler Chynoweth ‘17
The people that I have met here have totally opened my eyes. They are all very hospitable and nice, and they always put other in front of themselves. Every interaction with them put a smile on my face, and it is going to be hard to say goodbye to everyone.
Anna Dieffenbach '17
The value of this trip to Senegal cannot be put into words, just like a picture will never do this country's beauty justice. Not only have I been able to check off several activities on my bucket list, but I have learned and grown through each experience. Every Senagalese citizen accepts one another for who they are, despite religion, clothes, language barriers, or origin. The Senegalese still realize the importance of traditions and hold onto classic activities like dancing, singing and drumming, and celebratory 2. I am coming out of this trip with a greater appreciation towards each individual person and the motivation to be who I want without the fear if what others may think -- there will always be another person to appreciate the effort I put towards my interests.
Teresa Ennis ‘17
This picture reminds me of the beautiful sights in Senegal. It also reminds me that all things have to come to an end, even this wonderful trip. I have learned so much on this trip and my eyes have been opened to a very different but awesome culture. I hope to come back one day and experience another trip of a lifetime.
Lauren Forgione ‘18
This was a trip of a life time. Throughout the 12 days of our travel we fell in love with the country more and more everyday. It's hard to believe it was ever a problem to try and come here considering everyone is so incredibly nice and welcoming. Although, Senegal may not be as developed as the United States everyone here embraces what they have and lives life to the fullest. I'm so glad I got to experience this trip and I would recommend Senegal to anyone.
Natalie Haimovitz ‘19
Seeing all of the beautiful, united people and personalities has been incredible. They really see the beauty and truth in everyone and everything, which is something I really admire. From the camel rides, to meeting new people, to learning new things, and stepping outside of my comfort zone, this trip has made me feel so free, and has opened my eyes to new aspects of the world.
Emily Rose Haynes, ‘19
The kids and people in Senegal moved me so much! They are so giving and welcoming. Everyone makes you feel like you are part of their family even if you only met them once. In addition to that even though most of us couldn't understand what the fatick kids were saying because we spoke different languages that didn't stop us from interacting with eachother, getting to know everyone and having a blast together. I would like to thank everyone we met on our travels and everyone that helped us get there.
Annabelle Lessard ‘18
This trip will forever affect my future. It has opened my eyes to the things I have only read about. The look of the children when we were saying goodbye made me realize that they need us and need hope. I want our connections with them to continue and soon make a difference.
Katie MacMaster ‘19
Coming into this trip I was very exited to learn about the culture and the way people live in africa. Although the way I thought it would be and the way that it is was completely different. This culture is so welcoming and no one cares about your race or your religion. I have began to believe that even though these people are much less privileged than us. But in some ways they have such a better understanding of what is going on around them. Another thing that will always stick with me is the dancing, they are really amazing dancers here and they dance with such ease that it makes me wish that I could have the confidence and support that they do.
Darian Magner ‘17
On this trip I have learned many things, with hunger being one. As we drove up to the gas pump we realized we had so many breakfast sandwiches so we decided to get be them out to the people on the streets as we gave one out many people came to the bus, begging for food. I was so upset that in America we take every meal for granted and the Senegalese don't know when their next meal would be. If I learned on thing that impacted me the most would be world hunger is tragic!
Mimi Templeton ‘17
These are some of my favorite photos from the trip. I have so much to say about Senegal. Senegal is a beautiful country with beautiful people. My time there impacted me significantly, and I've really been encouraged to rethink not only what makes me happy, but what brings happiness to the people as a whole, and how our ideals and values vary throughout the world. The Senegalese people are what really made my time there so significant. Forming friendships with such kind, passionate people is an incredible thing, and I intend to try my hardest to keep these connections. I hope that I can share with others the beauty of Senegal and Senegalese culture and help break down barriers and generalizations often made about Africa.
Grace Vollers ‘18
Through travel, I have come to realize that the world is not just made up of "black" and "white." My mistakes, my adventures, and my experiences have not only changed my life by allowing me to understand and truly appreciate another culture, but have opened my heart to each and every person I have met. My journey through Senegal, filled with generosity, kindness, and tradition let me see how happiness can be found within even the most unfortunate situations. It had also given me the chance to take a new look at the world; one where I have the chance, and the ability, to take the opportunities I have been given to help those who need it most. Project Senegal wasn't just breaking down barriers for Woodstock Union High School, it was creating a connection that brought our communities together, and showed us what it means to be global citizens.
Lily Walker Money ‘19
I thought it was absolutely amazing to see myself and others connect with people of various ages who we had only seen over a screen. I think I can speak for all of us when I say, the unity that was shared between all of us was an unforgettable moment. I was emotional when it came to the end of the day. Holding tears back while engaging in long hugs was a memory that will stay with me.
Cole Westscott ‘17
The day we had the school ceremony in Dakar I think was the most meaningful, the fact that the students took so much time to prepare for this shows how much they care. It really shows how much of an impact we have on each other, and the way they performed was amazing. Their culture continues to amaze me with all the hospitality, friendliness, and especially the dancing. I love how much dancing is a part of their culture and how it really symbolises everyone getting together and putting their differences aside just to dance the night away. Their open arms and hearts truly moved me and opened my eyes to how everyone else's cultures work and makes me want to truly learn more about this world.