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  • One of the most noticeable things in Senegal was the sense of community. Traveling throughout Senegal I couldn’t help, but notice how individuals worked together and looked after one another. For example, in the fishing community of Dakar, if one fisherman has a good catch and another has a bad catch, the fisherman with the good catch will give some of his fish to the other man. He does this because he has an understanding that tomorrow he may have a bad catch and the man he helped will help him. This sense of community spans to many other areas as well.
    Even as an outsider, I was welcomed by the Senegalese “Teranga”, or hospitality.
    So how then does a Senegalese individual establish this sense of community when they migrate to other places? I have found mini Senegalese communities in Buenos Aires, Argentina as well as in Cape Town, South Africa. I know there are Senegalese immigrants living in Providence as I have encountered several who happen to be taxi drivers. I have also worked with a Senegalese family, doing my best to make their adjustment go as smoothly as possible.
    It wasn’t until I had visited Senegal though that I realized that the family was missing a huge part of what they had had in Senegal. In general I think it is common for Americans to think that we have it all, America is the land of opportunity and therefore when one moves here it is seen as an upgrade. In regard to community however, I believe the Senegalese immigrant has unfortunately had to downgrade, having come from a community that looks after one another, that has a sense of obligation towards his or her neighbor, to a place that may too often tell its neighbors to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

    So then…how are Senegalese immigrants finding alternative communities? I have learned a great deal about what it means to be part of a community from my time in Senegal. I hope these ideals will begin to expand here in the U.S. on a greater level, a level such as that in Senegal.
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