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Natasha Hass's Blog

On this, the last day of my internship I thought I’d share some of the “firsts” I have experienced these past 6 months.

First time being in Africa


First time riding a camel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First time swimming with a pelican (dolphins are overrated!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
First time going to the bathroom discovering a toad in the toilet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First time going to the tailor to have...

Here in the PEVF program, we have been very busy the last few weeks. The peer educators have been going into their neighbourhoods to recruit new participants for the upcoming year.  Each peer educator has gathered 20 girls, and have created a group of either 13-15 year olds, or 16-18 year olds.

Over the next 8 months these girls, who are not in school, will have the opportunity to learn. Many children in Senegal, especially girls, do not attend school, or...

Here in Dakar I work at the CCGN community centre – Centre Communautaire Galle Nanondiral. Every day, as I arrive at the centre for work my morning starts with laughter as I am greeted out front by Sokhna. Sokhna is a vendor who sells fruit, peanuts and homemade goodies. She doesn’t speak any French and I don’t speak Wolof, so we usually exchange some form of greeting that the other doesn’t understand, smile and then laugh at each other.

As I...

In the past week I have noticed some changes here in Dakar. It hasn’t been as hot. There is a breeze in the normally stale and humid air. The sun that usually beats down throughout the day is now often covered by clouds. And it hasn’t rained in about a month. There are less mosquitos. People are no longer asking “et le chaleur?”  And last night I didn’t even turn the fan on when I went to bed.

The hot rainy...

Dakar is a lot quieter these days. There are no longer sheep constantly baaing, tied by one foot outside of every house, nor are there vendors in the streets with large groups of sheep to sell. On Wednesday, the Muslim holiday of Tabaski was celebrated here in Dakar. So although I missed out on Canadian Thanksgiving, I was able to celebrate a Senegalese holiday this week instead.

Tabaski is a holiday that is practiced by Muslims in all parts of the...

Last weekend I traveled to Linguère, a small town about 300 km north east of Dakar. World Renew is hoping to start the same PEVF program there that we run in Dakar. The purpose of the trip was to gauge and evaluate if the target population, unschooled adolescent girls, was there for the PEVF to be implicated. One of the Linguère staff took us around to meet different people in the community who work with youth to discuss the program...

What is community? It is something I long for. To feel connected with others, to know I am welcome somewhere, to belong to something greater than myself, to be able to share with others, to learn from them, to accept help and to give it.  It is something I studied in university, a whole class devoted to teaching about Community Development. It is also the branch of World Renew my internship falls under: “Community Development”. But what does that really...

Well, I have officially made it half way through my internship. Although I am not exactly midway through my time here (because I am staying an extra month to travel), I am 3 months into a 6 month placement. So here it is:
                                                                           The middle.

But I did not expect it to look like this. I thought the longer I stayed here, the more accustomed and adjusted I would feel. I thought the more I learned, the more comfortable I would...

This week I went for a walk with a nine year old girl. During our walk I noticed a few things. First of all, I wasn’t getting yelled at by any children or men who like to try to get the attention of toubabs (which is what white people are called here). Next, I did not get touched by anyone who wanted to see if my white skin would rub off, nor did I have any hands extended to me...

I received some funny comments this week and thought I’d share them to tell a little about the culture here in Senegal.

“Natasha, today you became pretty” (Said to me by one of the peer educators I work with after getting my hair braided as most of the women here do) I think she meant that up until that point I had not been pretty!

Fun Cultural Fact #1 - Appearance in Senegal is very important. Looking good, having your hair done,...

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