The Land of Teranga

I am from the south where we are known for our “southern hospitality” but upon arriving in Senegal I have now truly entered into “The Land of Hospitality”. The Senegalese pride themselves on their teranga and everywhere I have been so far, this place lives up to the nickname, which literally means hospitality. What I love is that whenever I have said thank you to someone for their generosity, they respond with one word…teranga. Here are some examples from my short time here so far.

  • École Les Hirondelles Elementary School—The administrators, teachers, and students were thrilled to see us and kept thanking us for choosing their school to visit. We had a wonderful tour and everyone was so kind.

  • Activities with our country consultants—Both Mouhamadou and Aissatou have gone out of their way to make us feel welcome in their country. Mouhamadou even answered all answered all of my questions about Sufism over lunch one day and even said he would write down more information and get it to me.

  • Lycée Galandou Diouf High School—The students came to school even though their teachers are on strike to sing and perform for us and then have a discussion panel. I was amazed by their maturity, confidence, and desire to make the world a better place.  

  • Restaurant Chez Nobou le Rocher—At this beautiful restaurant on the beach, musicians played for us and spent time going over the names of instruments.

  • Welcome Event and Fashion Show—The entire village came together to help welcome us on our first night in Diass. The English club performed as well as musicians like the group Saafi Saafi, and local fashion designers showed off their work. It was such a unique experience and I will include more on the fashion show in a later post.

  • My host teacher’s family—His wife and kids have welcomed us into their home for meals and tea. Even another teacher, Mr. Fall, invited us to his house for traditional Senegalese Tea, which consists of three different pours and can last for hours.

  • Lycee de Diass “welcome assembly”—The students and teachers gathered to greet us and made us feel so welcome. The choir teacher had written a song for us and a goup of students performed it. English teachers don’t have class on Mondays, but many still came to meet us on our first day and although teacher strikes are going on all over Senegal, the teachers at our school are going to wait until next week to strike so that we will get a chance to work with students.

These are just a few of the ways i have experienced teranga so far and I am sure that I will have many more stories to share after another week in Senegal.