Salaam aleikum! In my third month as a Project Trust volunteer in Senegal, I am starting to feel very at home in this laid back country.
I am teaching a 6e, 5e and two premiere classes (the equivalent to Year 7, 8 and the first year of 6th form.) I am still observing the older classes but I was thrown into the deep end with the younger ones. The kids are always enthusiastic to learn and I can’t wait to see them progress throughout the year.
Of all of my jobs here, the part I am enjoying the most is the Fas Jom project. There are lots of girls in the area who cannot go to school for a variety of reasons (poverty being one) and, since 2011, the Project Trust volunteers have held evening classes for them. Along with Josie, my volunteer partner, I have been teaching the girls basic French and maths. Some of the girls can’t read or write so we are teaching them the alphabet, but the girls who have been attending Fas Jom since it began now have quite a good grasp of French so we are able to push them further.
Last weekend we became involved in a group called JFEL (Joal-Fadiouth English Lovers) which aims to create a welcoming community for English speakers of all ages. Some people who are attending are about to take their baccalaureate but I was happy to see some of my 6e students sitting in the front row. The aim is to not focus on grammar, instead it’s to encourage people and allow them to have fun with English.
Josie and I have been doing a lot of studying ourselves! We’ve both been putting a lot of effort into our French so we’re now able to speak much more easily with the people around us. Most people speak Wolof on a day to day basis so we’ve been trying to learn some of that too, although I am finding so much more difficult than French. In Senegal there are many other tribal langauges in addition to Wolof (Serer, Pulah, Jolah to name a few) so linguistically, it’s been very challenging.