The 'Last' Day

Mbour Travel Blog

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Morning and it's time to finish the remaining presentations. Drumroll, please! We have all finished! Yeah.
All of us can breathe a sigh of releif.

Lunch. Beach! (That's the only two words you need to know.)

The beach was delectable. We laid out on our tiny towels, iPods in our ears, the sun blasting down on our faces and backs. The swimsuit-shaped sunburn outlined on my back was so worth it. Finally, it felt like summer vacation. Vacation.

Then the peace was brutally interrupted. Interrupted by a sandstorm. The wind decided to pick up and swirl in cyclones around our tranquil mini-resort getaway on that twenty-square-foot plot of grainy sand. Mind you, this was like no other beach breeze. This was painful needles flying into your skin. It felt like Jay, who was sunbathing next to me, rolled over and started clawing me with pointed fingernails. Oww!!! Stop!

Since our sand-beds were turning on us, we all got up and decided to move about. Now what is the next logical thing to do? Why bury Amanda in the sand, of course!

She was a masterpiece. When we had finished our dirty work, only Amanda's head was peaking up out of the Senegalese sand. A crowd of local kids and teenagers had gathered to see what tortures we had procured upon our fellow foreigner. One boy in particular decided to add to Amanda's pain by poking her feet with a stick through the sand. Her continuous "Ow!" and our attempts at diverting the boy's attentions were fruitless.

After taking the appropriate blackmail pictures to adequately document the sand burial. We excavated Amanda from the beach and gathered our things the head back inside. Problem - the awkward boys who were bugging us decided to follow us - or attempt to follow us - back into our hotel. One of them especially decided to make us feel awkward by standing extremely close to us girls and touching our arms or sides. Um. Ew. Get off.

After a shower and de-sanding, I sat down to some sudoku. Sudoku in the sense that we all shared about five different puzzles by copying them down on notebook paper, then solving them. Sudoku became my distraction for a couple of hours, the equivalent of my television back home.

Then time to de-brief. Who can imagine that we would make it to the part of the program where we have to prepare for being cultured back into our own culture. It was good to talk and reflect about the program with Souleye, with everyone - how we grew, what we learned, how we are going to see things differently from now on.

At this point it hit me. I suddenly realized that I was really never going to see these people again. I wasn't going to relate to anyone else the way I could relate to these students. No one would ever understand the same extent as me my experiences this summer. It was like the debriefing session of goodbyes. Reminiscing and thinking of the end. The sadness that washed overme was completely unexpected.

After each of us got to individually thank Souleye, he announced that we were going to race crabs before dinner! Crab racing!!! He had a dry erase board set up with four different heats of five crabs each. Each heat had crabs named according to a specific category. There was the government leaders - George Bush, Tony Blaire, Abdoulaye Wade, Nicolas Sarkozy, etc. There was the soccer stars - Zidane, Beckham, Pele, etc. It was quite amusing to hear us all scream "Go, Bush, go!!!", "Hurry up, Beckam!", "C'mon, Sarkozy!". The hotel staff had crab racing down to a science. They set up a flood light to attract the crabs to one end of a pathway they had made with two long pieces of wood set up on their sides. In the race area, they even placed branches and leaves as obstacles. Those crabs weren't going to win that easily. We all made our predicitions on pieces of paper. Jill, the unbiased one, became the score keeper and declared who had the most accurate foresight after each heat. The winners were given prizes of small tourist souvenirs.

Dinner followed, and I swear I talked more than I ever have on this trip. Tons of fun dinner conversation interspersed with us being 'drunk' really punctuated the evening. All of us were laughing so hard that we started knocking the Coca-Cola bottles.

Then came the real surprise from Souleye. As his parting 'gift' to us, he arranged for a troupe of traditional drummers and dancers to come and entertain us. These women were insane and jumping high in the air, their legs convlusing in all directions. They chanted, danced, and even performed some kind of exorcism where one of the women poured milk all over her face and what looked like a seizure on the ground, while the other women danced around her. It was very odd. But, it couldn't top the finale, where they tried to get us all to dance, freak dancing most of the guys - including Ken.

All in all - a memorable evening.

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photo by: Manu32