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  • Frederick

Senegal Trip

Sponsor: Martin O'brien
Email: martin.obrien@msd.edu

Sponsor: Stacey Farone
Email: stacey.farone@msd.edu


Service Learning Trip

Senegal: Information Newsletter

The trip to Senegal in West Africa is administered by Senecorps - the main office is in Gaithersburg, MD.  For general information regarding the organization please go to www.senecorps.org.  The trip will occur in June 2013 (as long as at least 8 participants register) and lasts 14-16 days.

  • Program Fee - $3,500
    • round-trip air transportation from the east coast to Dakar, Senegal
    • two-week accommodations while in country with 3 meals per day
    • ground transportation in country
    • classes at a local university and workshops in Senegalese culture
    • a donation to the community service project / deaf community / deaf school
    • REPEAT travelers - $1000 discount
    • FAMILY deal – for each additional member of the family that registers, the program fee is $1000 less
  • Spending money
    • The only spending money students need is for souvenirs, for snacks, for water, and for an occasional trip to an American type restaurant when the urge for a burger or ice cream arises.  We find that $300 is normally more than enough for spending. 
  • Vaccinations and medications prior to travel
    • Students are required to attain a series of immunization shots.  The immunization shots can cost anywhere from $500 - $800.  Unfortunately immunization shots are not covered by most insurance companies.  We recommend that students consult with a Travel Doctor for advice on which shots are required.
  • This is a service learning trip.  
    • We will be teaching classes at several deaf schools
    • We will be working on ASL skills with the deaf students and their families
    • We will be helping in the community.
    • We have several social events with the deaf students.
    • Students will earn 100 SSL hours.
  • There are also a variety of educational activities involved as well.
    • We go to Goree Island for an all day tour.
    • We go to museums.
    • We attend classes at a University in St. Louis.
  • And of course, there are fun activities planned.
    • We plan and host an Olympic day of activities.
    • We spend a day or two at the beach as well as swimming at a local pool.
    • We have dance lessons and we have drumming lessons.
Exciting Past Events in Senegal - Some of the events students have participated in during our previous 4 trips to Senegal are listed below:
  • As part of the student service learning project, during the first two trips to Senegal students have helped to build a local community center for the deaf.  The community center has a library which is stocked with books purchased with money raised through funding events held by the MSD Community. The center was completed in 2010.  During our visit that summer there was a Grand Opening Celebration of the Community Center.  It was an important event in the community that was planned and held while our students could be in attendance.
  • MSD students have been asked to help organize a Special Olympics event that was held at a stadium in the capital city of Dakar.  Handicapped students from Senegal, the Gambia, and Mali were invited to participate in this event. 
  • On the day of the Special Olympics, there was an Inclusion March through the streets of Dakar.  MSD students were asked to help organize and participate in the Inclusion March to bring attention to the needs of not only deaf people but people with physical handicaps as well. Since little attention is given to the needs of handicapped individuals in Senegal and in other African nations, this was an amazing event.
  • MSD students also travelled with deaf students from Dakar and from Theis to visit and tour Goree Island, a former slave island.  Students spent the day at the beach for swimming and other water activities with the Senegalese deaf students.
  • MSD students taught classes at the deaf school in Senegal.  The students developed a lesson in ASL, History, Geography, or Math which was taught to the Senegalese deaf students.  These lessons were prepared prior to departure.
  • MSD students also attended lectures at the University of St. Louis where they learned about Senegalese culture. 
  • MSD students traveled to The Gambia where new friends were made at St. John’s School for the Deaf.  Donations were made and sporting activities helped develop a lasting bond.  A local children’s shelter was also visited and donations were given.
  • While in Senegal students have learned how to play the African drum, they have learned African dancing, and they have learned the art of Batiking.
  • Students have traveled by horse and wagon to a village near the ocean where they assisted the local villagers with their daily chores.

If interested, I can send an application.  Please fill it out and send it back to me with a $500 deposit by January 31st.   Remaining payments can be made until March 15th.  Payments are sent to me and then I send it on to the Senecorps office. FAQ’s 1.  Refund Policy -Senecorps, Inc. takes care of all of the travel plans - after all money is collected from the participants, it is sent to Senecorps.  I admit that Senecorps does not have a very clear refund policy.  If for some reason a student would have to cancel at the last minute, we would have to contact Senecorps to see about a partial refund. To be safe, you may want to consider purchasing a separate temporary travel insurance policy possibly from AAA. 2.  Medical Emergencies - Most of the places we visit are located in or near larger cities (Dakar, Theis, and Saint Louis).  If for any reason there would be an emergency, students would be taken to a nearby hospital.  If for some reason we are in a more remote area and it's not possible to travel to a hospital, the staff from Senecorps has a large network of friends and contacts that would assist at a moment's notice. 3.  Senecorps Staff - Senecorps has a large staff in country who are there to assist us at all times.  The staff is fluent in French and Wolof (the native languages of Senegal) as well as fluent in English. They are there to make sure we have a safe, successful, and positive experience. 4.  Application Deadline - We are very flexible with the application deadline.  We will hold onto the checks until we have everyone enrolled who is planning to go.  We have set January 31st as a deadline for application but we can be flexible as needed.    5.  Meetings - Once we know for sure exactly how many students will be traveling to Senegal with us, we will have a meeting here at school to discuss the plans.  Normally we develop a project.  For the first two years we conducted a shoe drive – unfortunately, we had to stop doing that since the cost of transporting shoes to Senegal increased greatly.  We have also organized a book drive one year and for the last two years we collected money to purchase backpacks and school supplies for the deaf students in Senegal.  We are still thinking about a project for this year - any ideas are welcomed.  6.  Fund Raising - We may do some fund raising events or activities to raise money to support the project but not for individual students program fees.  Last year we sold Pizza Kits raising over $500 to support our venture.  We also had an Italian Dinner and Dessert Auction that raised over $1000.  We also have an anuual “Sponsor a Student” program where members of the community can help support the education of a deaf child in Senegal.  Last year we were able to donate a over $5,000 thanks to the generosity of the MSD community.  We are considering doing pizza kits again this year. Any other ideas for “donation” fund raisers are also welcomed.  In the past, students (along with their parents) have done individual fundraisers to help defray the students’ program fee. 7.  Shots - Students will be required to have a series of shots.  We will be sending more information about shots at a later date. Most of the students go to a travel doctor here in Frederick. 8.  Questions - Please don't hesitate to send either of us an email with any questions you may have regarding the trip. 9. Confidence - We're glad to see that your son/daughter is so interested in becoming involved in the international community.  Both myself and my colleague, Stacey Farone, have had extensive travel experiences.  This June will be our fourth trip to Senegal.  We also both travel yearly with students during Spring Break, mostly to European countries, and Stacey has spent time in Bangladesh on a teacher exchange program living with local families and teaching at various schools.  Along with Senegal, I have been involved in various educational programs having traveled to Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, Armenia, and the Republic of Georgia, as well as working with high school students from Afghanistan on a student exchange program.  So you can see, Stacey and I are both well-experienced in international travels and cultural exchanges. 

Martin O’Brien- martin.obrien@msd.edu
Stacey Farone - stacey.farone@msd.edu

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