In Dakar, during the 2013 Christmas holiday, I had the pleasure to join three of my former students for brunch on December 31st. It was a momentous moment as we approached the end of 2013, so meeting them on that day was even more special. It was also a challenging day as each bank I visited from Ouakam through Almadies either had a long line or was out of cash or service. Yet, I was so determined to meet them that I borrowed money and almost walked most of the way to our selected restaurant as cabs were not easily found.
It was with great pleasure that I arrived to find my three poised, eloquent, visionary students. So began several hours of conversation where we examined the past, planned for the future, and talked about the importance of being aware of living and embracing the present. Someone started a sentence and the other finished it! We laughed long and hard as we reflected on shared experiences that brought us all joy and a bit of pain! We recognized how we had become empowered via our international experiences. Three diverse young women in terms of personalities, convictions, future plans and goals yet one shared passion regarding continuing their education and someday returning to Senegal!
On this day, we crossed a bridge and I, the higher education administrator transitioned into a better friend and continued mentor. We left the restaurant hopeful and inspired! It was hard to let go. But I let go knowing that there is a bright future for these young women. I believe that Senegal will benefit greatly from their knowledge and the experience they gained worldwide. They have seen the world, including the good, bad and ugly, and their return will not be by default but by pure choice now understanding that what people say the greater world can do for them can also be done at home.
by Angela Franklin-Faye