Teranga Newsletter from Dakar, Senegal

Authored by:
Aminata Fall




After their arrival in Dakar, the students are welcomed at CIEE Study Center for their academic orientation. This is a great opportunity to meet the staff of CIEE, to exchange and to have an overview on the progress of their program. Then they will meet their cultural pal whom they will explore the beautiful places of the city with, get acquainted with the Senegalese culture before returning to their host families. Aiming to get them integrated to the Senegalese culture, students are invited to eat a senegalese dish gathered around the bowl in a friendly and warm atmosphere as it is done in most of Senegalese families. They are briefed on how to greet people, the manners to adopt within their host family, how to take buses to get home and or come at school.


Students Orientation: Students wearing Senegalese women loincloth as women do to get ready for lunch time.


Around the bowl to eat their first senegalese dish “Ceebu Jën”


Students meeting with their cultural pal to walk around the neighborhood.


City Tour

Students are not in Senegal only to learn about the culture, they are also in the country to explore the complex fabric of their host culture and learn from their experiences. This learning also comes through fun activities. During their tour, students meet with peers and Senegalese friends to play football while enjoying the sunset.  They also enjoy the experience of eating around the bowl and drinking attaya, the much celebrated Senegalese tea session.


A lush path to the beach


Getting ready for lunch around the bowl

After the lunch, a cup of attaya is a must


Touring through Goree Island

CIEE students had the opportunity to visit Goree Island. This sacred place commemorates hardships and injustice suffered by enslaved Africans. Visit to this island allowed students to gain a better understanding of the history of millions of Africans forcibly who, over three centuries, were wrested from their homeland and taken to the Americas.

Following the program’s visit to the Slave House, one student stated: « At first, I was surprised and confused as to why I was weeping so much because this did not happen to me, and my ancestors were lucky enough to stay in Africa. But then later on, I realized that these were not just the ancestors of the Black Diaspora but also my (Africans) ancestors. »

 The Slave House


During their tour of Goree Island, students also had a chance to observe artists at work and appreciate their enormous talent. 


Relaxing, enjoying the shade, after the tour.


Lunching in the restaurant of Gorée


Toubab Dialaw 

Field trip to Toubab Dialaw, a village about 40km away from Dakar. A unique experience to stroll through the village, eat a fish, visit the cultural center where a reputed dance school meets other disciplines: music, theater, painting, sculpture, architecture. A chance to discover amazing houses with delirious architecture.

Batik sessions


Rural VISIT 

For their rural visits, students are placed in different villages around the country to experience life in rural areas compared to life in the city. Not only does this experience allow them to know more about Senegalese society and culture, it also helped them to improve their Wolof and to learn other local languages. Students choose the top 3 areas where they want to stay. Before departure, they receive directions and all the logistical support they need for the trip. Students are placed in different host families and discover a new life style such as farming, riding on horse-pulled carts, or experiencing life without electricity.  Even with this lack of infrastructures, students had a very positive experience of rural life and how caring, and welcoming people are.


A student said: « Being and living in community is a huge part of African culture. Everyone is considered family even if they are complete strangers.  Our village tour guide gave a tour of the village and everyone we met, he referred to them as family. Everyone lives together in unity. They all cook for each other and take care of each other.  Everyone welcomed my friend and I with open arms. In this village, they speak Serere and when we attempted to speak it with them, they automatically welcomed us as family. My rural visit host family decided to give me their family name since I already have a Senegalese first name from my host family in Dakar. My official Senegalese name is Khadija Diouf 

« I would just like to say that Senegalese people are extremely generous people »




Celebration of Achoura (Tamxarit): A senegalese Feast

The Celebration of Achoura is a very important moment for the muslims. It stands as the end of the year in the muslim calendar. It is celebrated one month after Eid al-Adha(Tabaski). During this feast, people prepare a special senegalese dish called « Cere » and it is a great moment to ask for forgiveness to each other.The night, while celebrating, men disguised themselves in women and vice verca. Afterwards, they enter the houses of the neighbors where they sing, dance and in return receive money or rice from families. 


In these pictures, the students wore their outfits and celebrated with their host families. Men wearing women’s clothing and vice verca.



Live, Learn and Experience


Language and Culture Program's excursions



The students have been to Ndiassane and Tivaoune that have a great religious background. Tivaoune welcomes every year one of the biggest religious event in Senegal.The visit gave them an idea about the origins of Ndiassane and the most important events celebrated in that small village. At tivaoune, they visited the chatolics cimetery, and the three biggest mosquees where are buried the most famous religious leaders.


Presentation of the CIEE students and the objectives of our visit


The guide translating the explainations of the imam about the origins and the importance of Ndiassane.


A questions/answers session between the imam and the CIEE students


Visiting the chatolics cimetery in Tivaoune. The guide explaining the reasons why it was build and the famous persons buried in the place.


The most important mosquees in Tivaoune where Seydi Hadj Malick and Serigne Babacar (religious leaders) are buried



Touba is a religious city in Senegal, and is the capital of the Mourid muslim Brotherhood. It is 194 km away from Dakar. Touba is the second most populated city in Senegal and its name comes from the arabic word ṭūbā which means « Redemption ». Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba also known as Serigne Touba, with his followers, founded this city in 1887. It welcomes every year the mourid pilgrimage. The students, throughout their visits observed the solidarity and the devotion that animate the mourid brotherhood. They visited the big mosquee of Touba where are buried the founder of the brotherhood and his sons.


The guide showing to the students the size of the mosquee and the work in progress. It is being built by the morrocans.


The highest minaret in Touba bears the name of Lamp Fall who was the most devoted follower of Cheikh ahmadou Bamba. This minaret is 86 meters long and is the second highest in West Africa after Morocco.


The students veiled as women are doing once they enter the mosquee.



Going to the Stadium: Senegal versus South Africa

The Students were taken to the stadium Leopold Sedar Senghor to watch the soccer game. Senegal was playing against South Africa for the World Cup qualifier and became the third African country to qualify for the 2018 World Cup by defeating South Africa 2-0 in the first leg game. With the students, we went enjoying the ambiance of the stadium for the second leg game. And it was more like a celebration of our second qualification to the world cup. We finally won 2 by 1.


The students with their Senegalese jerseys supporting Senegal.


The students in their seats looking forward to the kickoff of the game


At the Stadium before the kickoff of the game when all projectors were turned off and the phone’s light were on to celebrate our qualification to the world cup.



Final Saint louis and Lompoul Excursion


For the final excursion, the students had the chance to visit:

The historical place of Saint-Louis: One of the biggest city of Senegal and located in the northwest, Saint-Louis is 320km away from the capital city. This city is listed as UNESCO world heritage.

 The bird’s national park of Djoudj: It is 60 km far from Saint-louis. With 365 bird species (nearly 3 million in the park), djoudj is the third biggest bird park in the World.

The desert of Lompoul and finally the Pink Lake at Keur massar. This excursion was a great opportunity for CIEE’s staff and the students to spend times together.


Old building where the slaves were kept.


Old machine at Saint-Louis.



National Bird’s Park of Djoudj

Crossing Djoudj’s river with the students to get to the pelican’s place.


The pelican’s place in Djoudj. They are thousands of pelicans that migrate from different countries in Africa to lay eggs. They are present in that place from October to April.


Tents in Lompoul. Students experiencing life in the desert.


Students riding camels in Lompoul




CIEE held its end-of-semester dinner on Friday 13th at Olumpic club. It is a great occasion to give the french award for the staff and the students to spend good times together. The Language commitment (french award) was given to the winner


Taking the last picture with their teacher.


Students in their best Senegalese outfits

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