not a third world country lost in turmoil, but rather a democracy
comprised of politically involved citizens who care very much
about their leaders and their country.
A Visit to the Orphanage
Tallulah Axinn, Grade 11
Our visit to the Vivre Ensemble Orphanage was on one of the
last days of our trip. We had been volunteering all week at Ecole
Natangué, where the children were all happy and very energetic, and I was a little worried that when we visited the orphanage
we would be confronted with unhappy and neglected children
– a reality I wasn’t sure that I could handle. To my surprise, the
orphanage was very nicely kept and organized. As a matter of
fact, we learned that the French government sends juvenile delinquents convicted of theft or other non-violent crimes to work
in this orphanage for around 6-9 months to help straighten them
out and give them a more positive outlook on life.
Our tour of the orphanage consisted of visiting separate rooms
of children of different ages, ranging from newborns to four-year-olds. In each room, we got the chance to play and interact with
the children. It was obvious how much they needed physical
contact, and it was nice to be able to brighten their day, if only
for a short time.
At the end of our tour, while we were walking through their
courtyard where several children were playing, I suddenly saw
two boys from my classroom at Ecole Natangué I had been
particularly close to. Both of them seemed to carry so much love
and joy, but now I understood why these two boys, in particular,
always seemed to crave my affection and attention. Seeing the
reality of the lives of these boys who wanted nothing but to be
loved made my heart wrench. There was nothing I wanted more
than to be able to give them all the time and affection that I
could, but we had to go.
The visit to the orphanage was one of the most memorable
parts of the trip for me, but it was also the hardest. I didn’t realize how much of a lasting effect that visit would have on me, but
I know I’ll always have a place in my heart for those two boys.
A Dive-Roll Out of Our Comfort
Alejandro Poler, Grade 10
Visiting Senegal was like stepping across an
important threshold in my life; it has helped me
transition from being a student who lives in the
world to one who has seen the world. I feel I have
become more familiar with the spectrum of the
Human Development Index that makes up the
inhabited regions of our planet. Whether or not I
am now a true global citizen, I am certainly closer
than I was before I stepped off the plane in Dakar.
After this trip, it has been difficult to return to
my comfortable niche in my upper middle-class
family in California without being troubled by the
grim predicaments we witnessed during our stay in
M’bour. Everyone knows about the “poor kids in