I am one week from beginning the travel adventure that initiated this blog a few months back. As a Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow, a program of the U.S. Department of State, I will be travelling to Senegal to take a deep dive into education in another part of the world. My host teacher, Fanta, has already developed an amazing itinerary and I can’t wait to experience Senegal.
I’ll be meeting with education administrators, teachers, students, and other stakeholders to learn and share about education issues in both of our countries. And I’ll be conducting research on environmental awareness and attitudes among students and teachers - I’m excited to share my findings with you in the future.
While I’m away my students will continue their study of life and environmental sciences with a little bit of a twist because we’ll connect what they’re learning to what I’m learning. Isn’t the power of the internet great? Your teacher goes away and yet she’s not entirely gone, she’s still haunting you via email, discussion boards and blogs.
In the meantime, I’ve stepped up Operation Packing, assigning it a Code Orange. I’ve really struggled to assemble the right gear for this trip. Senegal is a predominantly Muslim country, so I’d like to respect my colleagues by dressing appropriately which means no knees showing. And I’ll be there in April with temps in the 100’s. After weeks of shopping I finally found some very light, cotton, long dresses that fit and look reasonably professional to go to work in. I look like I’m heading west in a covered wagon, but embracing a pioneer attitude would probably serve me well on this trip. So into the suitcase they go.
I spent a good hour at Walmart putting together a travel pharmacy that includes Advil, Immodium, Pepto, Benadryl, a Z-Pack, Neosporin, Band-Aids, Tums, Bonine, and disinfectant. I put them all together in a neatly labeled Ziploc bag and placed it on the table in the Command Center, aka the dining room. Then it ocurred to me – I never take any of those medicines, why on earth am I dragging them to Africa? Pinterest. Pinterest told me I should pack those items, that I could not possibly survive a trip to west Africa without them. Really? I’ve survived like 40 years without most of them. Apparently I trust Pinterest more than myself because they went into the suitcase with the Laura Ingalls’ dresses.
I still have quite a few things to do before I can complete Operation Packing so the command center will remain active throughout the week. I need to hunt down some small, locally made/produced items as gifts. I still need to pick up my anti-malarial meds which had to be specially ordered. And most importantly, I need to decide which American snack foods I should bring with me to enjoy and to share. Do I have any suggestions? Comment below. Also feel free to share any packing tips you might have or recommendations for things I should bring. Much appreciated!
About this Blog:
I am a former Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow, a program of the U.S. Department of State. I have completed graduate level training in Global Education and traveled to Senegal in April with the program to explore their educational system. This blog is a piece of the global education guide I have created to support other teachers and students in globalizing their classrooms. My focus area is life and environmental science and understanding the interconnectedness of Earth. For more information on the fellowship please visit the IREX website.