When volunteers from Espoir de Demains, one of Projects Abroad’s center for street children, were deciding on a project for the volunteers to work on, they wanted to do something with a long-lasting impact on the children.
The children on the street are often from rural villages or neighboring countries that have come here to St. Louis to learn the Quran. Some of the teachers do not provide them with adequate places to live, forcing the kids to beg and sleep on the streets.
Many of the children have been sleeping on the roof of Espoir de Demains to avoid going home. Volunteers visited the area that many of these kids are meant to live and found just a filthy straw lean-two in an alleyway.
The volunteers bought cement, bamboo, pickets, iron wire, sand, timber, mats, plastic sheets and nails. The volunteers worked all week to make the area livable for the children.
"It turned out great," UK volunteer Katie Addy said. "I might just sleep there tonight."
During the past week Senegal's volunteers celebrated the Tabaski festival with their host families. The Tabaski or 'fete du mouton' is the largest festival in the Muslim calendar which commemorates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his only son Ishmael after Allah asked him to do so. Just before Abraham was about to start, Allah replaced Ishmael with a sheep.
For this reason, if a family has the means, they will slaughter a sheep on the day of Tabaski. A typical day of Tabaski begins with the men and boys going to prayer. When they finish, they return home and slaughter the sheep. The sheep are then brought into the house and the whole family helps to skin the sheep and prepare the onions and potatoes that will be served with them. After grilling the sheep, the family sits down around a communal platter to eat the grilled sheep with their hands.
The women then prepare the sheep in a slightly different way and in about two hours the family eats again. After this second meal the family rests a bit. When everyone is well rested the family gets dressed up in the new outfits they bought for the occasion, and visits their neighbors to ask for forgiveness for anything they had done wrong throughout the year.
The Projects Abroad group was invited to the local bar that we have our weekly quiz to have dinner. The owner of the bar had slaughtered a sheep for us and prepared a nice dinner for all of us. Their was a concert at the bar shortly after.
Almost all of the businesses in town, as well as our work placements were closed the next day. Some volunteers decided to take advantage of their day off of work to play a game of football on the beach.
One volunteer held a benefit concert for street children last week.
Projects Abroad runs two centers that work with children without proper homes, Daara Vision Senegal and Espoir de Demains. At the center volunteers wash the children, clean their wounds, teach them French, play with them and clean the areas where they live.
UK volunteer Danlel Lawson organized with one of the local bars to host an evening where several local musicians play and 30 percent of the proceeds from the evening went towards Daara Vision Senegal. There was a large turnout and they raised quite a lot of money from the evening.
Volunteers in Senegal make hundreds of beignets (doughnuts) for street kids this weekend. The group started Saturday by preparing the dough so that it could rise over night. Then the volunteers met on Sunday to cook and bag the beignets. This took about three hours. The volunteers then met, early Monday morning, to distribute the beignets in the areas where the kids live.