June 4, 2008
DAKAR, Senegal - Cal spent its final day in Africa in Dakar, Senegal, on Monday, June 2 and arrived back in the Bay Area on June 3.
It's hard to believe that in one semester you can study a piece of history and a semester later be walking through the very place you just studied. Well, for me the trip to Goree Island was living history. The team and I got to walk the same street and enter the same slave quarters that had previously been described to me in lectures. We stood where over six million enslaved men and women died. Moreover, we walked the same Door of No Return that millions of slaves walked before us.
One sign really captured my eye and it read, "If all the sky were ink and the Earth were paper, I still could not describe the brutality of the slave trade." My teammates and I stood in a part of our history and experienced how one small island affected the lives of so many. This was a powerful start to a day full of exciting activities.
By the afternoon, our ferry ride back to Dakar was full of laughter and music as Trell, C.C. (Coach Smith), Krista, Dev and Mooch pulled out little music makers they purchased on the Island. Anne (our trainer) tried to ban us from taking them out on the ferry, however the banning of the annoying music toys wasn't going to keep us down!
The next stop was a sand painting gallery. Senegalese men took sap from the bopp tree and sand from all over Senegal to create these works of art. The best part was the demonstration where they made Cal its very own special painting. The funny part was that the sign read "Beverley University." It didn't matter though because it was the thought that counted.
After the sand painting gallery, it was time for the team's favorite part of the day. Only a few streets away was Rama's "hood" (as we were calling it). Rama's family lives in a beautiful home only about two blocks from the beach. Before we joined her entire family for dinner, Rama, her dad and her brothers took us down to the ocean.
On the beach were tons and tons of people working out and playing various games. We were especially interested in a group of guys practicing Senegalese wrestling...well, one guy in particular who Dev, Tamilyn (team manager) and a few other girls fell in love with. According to Rama, he is one of the best and it showed. A large circle formed around the wrestlers as a few of them challenged each other to short matches. Our favorite guy ended up taking down a tough challenger and the crowd erupted into celebration. Dev and Tamilyn took playful pictures with him, but he got the last laugh when he grabbed Kelsey for a picture.
It was an amazing day from start to finish, and we will all miss this amazing culture that we were introduced to.