During the February break, 13 student delegates and two chaperones traveled to Senegal to visit and volunteer at Ecole Natangué, the K- 6 public school in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood in M’bour that International High School has been supporting for the past seven years. This unique service and cultural trip began with a tour of Dakar and a visit to the Island of Gorée, home of the historic “House of Slaves” that thousands of Africans were forced to pass through
on their journey to the Americas. The following week was spent in M’bour,
where the students volunteered at Ecole Natangué, a nearby orphanage, and
an organic agricultural cooperative, conversed and made friends with English
students at a local high school, and were immersed in the local culture, visiting local markets, touring a nearby village, and taking lessons in Senegalese
cooking and dancing.
As delegates representing International High School, the students also had
the opportunity to witness how the $7,500 they and their fellow students had
raised for Project Senegal during the past year will be used. The bulk of the
money, $5,500, will go directly to Ecole Natangué, providing food for the students at the school and paying the salary for an extra teacher in each class of
fifty students in the kindergarten. The students also had the honor of presenting a $1,000 check to the principal of another local elementary school in the
same neighborhood that has no outside support, a $500 check to pay for a
room for a disabled boy named Doudou, as well as five checks of $100 each
to needy mothers of children at Ecole Natangué, who will use the money to
start small businesses.
The students who traveled to Senegal returned with an immense appreciation and respect for the culture and people of Senegal, along with a renewed
sense of dedication to their long-term international service project, Project
Senegal, which is helping transform the lives of hundreds of children and their
families in the small Senegalese town of M’bour.