So it’s 1 month before I get to Dakar and things have been moving so fast! Just to get readers up to speed, it’s been a whirlwind few months and lots of surprises making this happen. I guess, I want to start from the beginning.
Mamedjarra and I met in Bruce Payne’s Arts, Culture, and the Civic Environment that we both took this past semester. We hadn’t talked to each other directly for months but I have to admit, I’d been hoping to have a conversation with her about her job and interests since she’d first introduced herself to our class. Our first real conversation started on April 19th after our class went to an amazing performance of The Royale at Lincoln Center Theatre. It was an incredible performance, one that I will hold off on getting into right now but needless to say it really sparked our conversation. As we left the theatre and walked to a restaurant for dessert and a recap of the performance with the rest of class (thanks Bruce and Jack for that), we started to talk about common interests and Sunu Thiossane.
A week later Mamedjarra and I met up for an afternoon snack and more dessert and decided we had to make this happen. Just two days later she was in a meeting with the Bruce Payne (interim director of the M.A. of Arts Administration at Baruch) , his great assistant, and Baruch College’s Director of Study Abroad. That’s when things really started to fall into place.
Mamedjarra’s passion and commitment to Sunu Thiossane is intoxicating and I am sure everyone in that meeting felt it because she walked out of the meeting, called me, and told me that I was going to Senegal!
Skeptical as ever, I wanted to learn more details. As it turns out, the outcome of the meeting was that Mamedjarra and I would be eligible to apply for a fellowship program through Baruch’s study abroad program and we would be the first participants in the pilot study abroad partner-program with Sunu Thiossane.
It really is amazing what a few conversation, a lot of conviction, and some serious faith in yourself and your ideas can get accomplished (all of this in reference to Mamedjarra herself). But I decided to take that leap with her. We applied for the Fellowship and were informed we would receive support. Mamedjarra decided to leave her current position and pursue her passion and commitment to Sunu Thiossane full-time and I was able to arrange for taking time away from my job (so much thanks to them for that)! But big changes started to happen.
More lesson planning, programmatic design, meetings, script writing, web/blog design, and so much more has been happening. That’s not to mention the paperwork (yikes!) and logistics like finding a subletter and buying plane tickets.
In the end, we now are 1 month away from the start of our group orientation in Senegal! We couldn’t have gotten here without love and support from family, faculty, and friends. We are also running a Go Fund Me Campaign and we can’t say how grateful we are to all of our supporters and contributors. It has been so touching to see people from all parts of our lives support and help us out with this project. Personally, I can’t wait to get to Dakar and I am so excited to see what Sunu Thiossane holds. Thanks so much again to everyone and for following us on this adventure!