Work Hard, Play Hard, Laugh Harder

Sunu Thiossane 2016, meaning the last 5 weeks of my life, has been something I will never be able to forget, truly a life changing expereince. It was intense, hot, made up of long days full of language barriers, delicious food, amazing people, and so many open hearts and minds.
Personally, I am still trying to put all of that together into a comprehensive thought but having arrived back in New York just two days ago, I am not fully there yet. I did, however, want to share a few things because at they are still so fresh in my mind.
Our last weekend in Dakar together was one FULL of thank-yous. As the Sunu Thiossane staff we gathered to celebrate our hard work, that of our students, and share our appreciation for everyone who helped make Sunu Thiossane 2016 possible. At the heart of all of that, we were all lead back to Mamedjarra. Her spirit, enthusiasm, and passion is inescapable and we all would not have been there without her.
That final weekend we played like little kids on the beach and a few of us traveled to Gorée Island (Ile de Gorée) for some perspective, appreciation, and just a bit more bonding. Gorée Island is not just a beautiful piece of land off the coast of Senegal but it tells the story of the many lives that were taken from Africa, never to see their home again. I still don’t really have words or the way to describe the expereince but wanted to share these photos in the hopes that I find the words soon enough.
I’d love to be able to thank each and every person a million times over who helped me experience Sunu Thiossane 2016 (from friends, family, Go Fund Me donors, Baruch College Staff, and the list goes on and on) but that is almost impossible because everyone I know actually helped me have this amazing expereince. There was something so beautiful about the intensity of Sunu Thiossane that woke me back up, showed me that even when things seem impossible, if you ask for help people will surprise you and you can make magic happen.
Lots of love,
Jessica Epstein
Baruch Arts Administration Masters Candidate/Sunu Thiossane Intern 2016

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