Last weekend was full of Rotary activities! On Friday night we had an induction dinner for the two new Rotary members that are joining Rotary Saint-Louis- Mr. Diallo and Mme. Sota (though I think I have misspelled her name). The dinner was at The Hotel Sindoné located on the south-side of the island.
Saint-Louis is made up of three parts—the Langue de Barbarie (the peninsula) Saint-Louis (the island) and Sor (the mainland). All are referred to as Saint-Louis, though it is the island that has most of the government buildings, the beautiful French architecture and the pretty hotels.
This night was really cool because Cheryl and I got to experience a Rotary induction in French. I’m going to attempt to upload a video—Jean is giving an introduction and he introduces the 4-Way Test. I thought it was really cool that I was hearing this induction in French and I was proud of myself that I could pick out the Rotary 4-Way Test. To all non-Rotarians, the 4-Way Test is a set of principles, set out by Rotarian Herbert Taylor—entrepreneur, that guides the endeavors of every Rotary Club across the world to this day:
1. Is it the truth? 2. Is it fair to all concerned? 3. Will it build good will and better friendships? 4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
The two new members are Mme. Sota and Mr. Diallo. The evening was very laid back and an all around pleasant experience. I was able to talk with one of the Rotarians, Marie-Caroline, who is Senegalese-French. She worked for a number of years in Chicago and so we reminisced about Illinois together : ) We also talked about the current state of things in Senegal economy-wise, and she explained to me what she hopes to give back to her country (she is a business woman who has many years experience working between the US and France. She is interested in helping entrepreneurs and new businesses to start up and learn how to better sustain themselves). It was an all-around interesting experience. And you’ll notice our club is an interesting mix of Senegalese and French Rotarians : ) And now we’ve added 5 Americans—we’re getting to be quite the eclectic group!
Our next Rotary adventure was on Saturday. Rotary Saint-Louis has been actively involved with the development of a school called, L’Ecole Saër Saye. It’s a primary school, that from what I understood has been working with Rotary Saint-Louis for many years. This past Saturday was the presentation of the school renovations completed with the help of Rotary Saint-Louis. Previously the school had no running water—so no toilets with plumbing either. Rotary Saint-Louis funded the project to provide the school with these necessities. It was a really big event! All of the students and parents were invited and the students gave a number of performances for the audience. There was a poem that had been written, as well as a planned fight – traditional Senegalese wrestling known as Lutte Senegalese or Wolof Laamb. There was also singing and dancing. Definitely dancing!!! I am still amazed at how good these people are at dancing!! It seems like everyone has wonderful rhythm or knows the steps to the dance if there is choreography. For instance, Mbalax is a popular genre of music that has it’s own particular style of dancing…the kids I see doing this dance never cease to amaze me! I’m going to also try to upload what I caught of them dancing at L’Ecole Saer Seye. It was great!
The director and some of the teachers at the school gave very moving speeches. Though I couldn’t understand every word, there’s something that transcends language and that is emotion. Everyone was in great spirits and very happy to start the new school year with improved facilities.
please check out the snapfish.com link to see pictures from these events!
Or click here for L’Ecole Saer Seye: http://www5.snapfish.com/thumbnailshare/AlbumID=501298026/a=775175026_775175026/otsc=SHR/otsi=SALBlink/COBRAND_NAME=snapfish/
And here for the Rotary Induction: http://www5.snapfish.com/thumbnailshare/AlbumID=502301026/a=775175026_775175026/otsc=SHR/otsi=SALBlink/COBRAND_NAME=snapfish/