Traveler Thursday, Week 5: Krista’s Journey to Senegal

This is the second of a series of five interviews of kids around the world, called “Reach the World Kids: Field Notes”.

Traveler Bio: Krista is a Miami University student in Oxford, Ohio and a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship recipient studying abroad in Dakar, Senegal.


Title: “The Life of Mohammed”

As you can imagine, growing up in Dakar is different than growing up in the United States. However, there are many things that children in Senegal and the United States have in common!

Mohammed is a rising fourth grader at Les Almadies Primary School. Les Almadies is located about 20 minutes west of Sacre-Coeur. Les Almadies is actually the western-most point of the continent of Africa. He is the cousin of my host family, and has been staying with us for the past few weeks while he attends summer school in Sacre-Coeur. Mohammed is incredibly active and loves to play sports! He also has a really big appetite and eats anything.

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Mohammed posing for the camera. Photo by Krista.

What do you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

For breakfast, Mohammed normally eats baguette-style bread with some type of spread. These spreads often include Nutella, strawberry jam, butter, or cheese. He also loves Nesquik chocolate milk.

Since Mohammed is currently in summer school, he returns home for lunch at noon. Normally he enjoys some combination of fish and rice, but sometimes you can find him eating chicken and fries. It just depends on what is on the table!

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Common dish of fish meatballs and rice. Photo by Krista.

What is your house like?

Mohammed’s house has four floors! On the bottom floor, there is a living room with a television where his family spends a good amount of time relaxing. There is also access to the courtyard, where there are two parrots and some lawn furniture. Mohammed’s room is located on the second floor of the house, along with some other bedrooms and a bathroom. There is also a dining room on the second floor. The third floor is a suite for his parents. There they have their own bedroom, bathroom, and living area. Lastly, the kitchen is located on the top floor. He enjoys this because he is able to eat dinner on the outdoor terrace of his house. This is especially nice at night when there is a cool breeze!

What chores do you have at home?

Mohammed doesn’t have many personal chores, but he is expected to pick up after himself. Sometimes he has to run errands for his mom by going to the local boutique to pick up something she may need for dinner, like potatoes or bread.

What jobs do your parents have?

Since Mohammed is staying with his aunt and uncle for the summer (school in Senegal doesn’t begin until the first week in October), Mohammed decided to explain their professions. Mohammed’s aunt Mimi is a tailor. She runs a shop right next door to the home. His uncle works at the airport for an African airline company.

What time does school start, and what time do you go home?

During the school year, school begins at 8:00 a.m., but finishes at 1:00 p.m. so that students can return home for lunch. School then begins again at 3:00 p.m. and finishes around 5:00 p.m.

How do you get to school? Are you allowed to go to school by yourself?

Mohammed normally takes the bus to school, although sometimes he walks if he has enough time. He is allowed to go to school by himself.

Where do you eat lunch? What is your favorite food?

Mohammed returns home for lunch every school day. His favorite food isthiakry, which is a combination of yogurt and rice.

What language do you speak at school? How do you say “Hello” in your language?

At school, Mohammed uses mostly the French language, although sometimes you can find him speaking Wolof with his friends. To say “hello” in French, you say bonjour.

What are some common kids’ names at your school?

Some common boy names at Mohammed’s school include Boubacar, Papi, and Mohammed. Some common girl names at Mohammed’s school include Aissatou and Bienta.

What subjects do you study in school, and which one is your favorite?

Mohammed studies English, French literature, math, history, and science. His favorite subject is English.

What is your homework like?

Mohammed says that his homework is very easy, although sometimes it takes a long time to complete as there can be a fair amount. He doesn’t mind doing his French or English homework, but just doesn’t want to do his math.

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Mohammed doing his homework. Photo by Krista.

What do you like to do after school? Do you have a favorite sport or game?

After school, Mohammed gathers with all the other students in his neighborhood to play a pick-up game of soccer. If he isn’t playing soccer, he can be found in front of the Xbox playing FIFA (a soccer video game). He also likes basketball.

Who is your favorite famous person?

Mohammed really likes Macky Sall, the current president of Senegal. He also thinks that Barack Obama is pretty cool.

What kinds of music do you listen to?

Music from the United States is big in Senegal! Many of the songs that you hear on the radio can probably be found on Mohammed’s playlist. He likes a lot of hip-hop from the United States, but also has a nice selection of hip-hop and upbeat songs from Senegalese artists.

What would you like to be when you grow up?

Mohammed is really undecided, but if he had to choose right now, he would want to be a pilot.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Although it is in the past, Mohammed wanted to visit Cote d’Ivoire when they played soccer against Senegal a few weeks ago. If he had to choose now, he would want to go the United States.

What do you know or think about the United States?

Mohammed knows a lot about sports and music in the United States. He really likes Usher and Sean Paul. He also likes Kobe Bryant and Lebron James. He would like to learn more about Barack Obama.

What questions do you have for kids in the United States?

What do you do after school? Can you walk to school? Where do you eat lunch? What is your favorite musical artist? Would you visit Senegal if you could?


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Kids hanging out. Photo by Krista.

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