UC Forward 2015 Trip Log – Day 1

By Mary Cate McIntyre

We had a great first outing in Senegal! After breakfast, we took a drive to see how oils are extracted from local plants like the baobab tree and hibiscus plant. While on site, we got to watch a woman soaking the dried hibiscus leaves in preparation for processing. We were then shown the machine used to press and extract oil from the seeds. The baobab oil we witnessed being extracted will be shipped to France, Spain or the US for commercial sale.

The next stop on our journey was to the village of Dany’s old friend, Ndeye. We were welcomed wholeheartedly by the entire village. After Ndeye and her family gave us a tour of their village and surrounding land, we were presented with an amazing feast of rice, chicken and watermelon. As we began to leave the village, the community gathered around us and started singing. All it took was one woman to grab a metal bowl and start drumming to get all of us to take turns dancing in the middle of the crowd.

We ended with a quiet dinner, some card games, and a Wolof/English language exchange between Alfred, Jibby and all the students.