Workshops, Comics, & Ceviche in Senegal

January was a busy month with travel for both work and fun. I had the privilege of traveling to Dakar, Senegal in West Africa for a conference. Although the trip from east to west Africa was far from short (20 hours), it was exciting to see another part of this beautiful continent. Senegal is French speaking, 95% Muslim, and on the west coast of Africa. It is very different from Uganda.

I had the opportunity to present about managing large classrooms and low resources. These are two common challenges with many teachers in my program as well as local teachers.

In attendance were local teachers from 16 African countries as well as 18 English Language Fellows posted around Africa. It was a great time meeting up with other Fellows and debriefing about each of our posts. We stayed up late most nights chatting and eating amazing food, including this ceviche. I ordered it more than once and still think about it…

delicious tuna ceviche with avocado, radishes, & fried plantains

The workshops were mostly focused on using comics and graphic novels in classes to promote literacy skills as well as facilitating discussions. I loved meeting the teachers from different countries and learning about so many different cultures and classrooms.

Presenting about large class strategies
“sole-mate” ice-breaker
“mingle mingle” ice-breaker
Looking at each other’s comic books
introducing an ice-breaker
Teachers and Fellows with our new free comic books!

We had one day as a cultural day, where we took a ferry to Goree Island. This island has the House of Slaves, which was used during the slave trade in 15-19th centuries. This island has many colonial buildings and was one of the main ports during the Atlantic slave trade. We toured the buildings and walked around the island. It’s difficult to sum-up how it feels to tour such buildings and stand in a place where so much horror took place.

The House of Slaves. As individuals were walked in, it was said that this was their “last view of freedom”. Under and around the stairs where small rooms where slaves were separated and kept.
Looking out from the only opening in the House of Slaves to the Atlantic
local transportation around Dakar

I can’t say enough how privileged I am to have these experiences. This Fellowship is half-way done! I can’t believe it. I have been able to travel to two countries outside of Uganda, meet amazing teachers and educators, and I have been repeatedly encouraged by the individuals in these communities. My own teaching and ideas have been challenged and stretched. I’m learning about education & myself more than I could have expected.

What will the next 5 months hold? Who knows, but I’m here for it 🙂

Happy February & Happy Teaching!

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