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Postcards from abroad: Senegal in the spring

October 3, 2012

Angeline Kasia Peterson’13, originally from Moscow, Idaho, spent her spring in Senegal. Now back in Beloit, she shares her photos and experiences.


What are the three most important things you packed in your suitcase? Why?

The three most important things I packed were: gifts for my host family, my journal, and scarves. The gifts for my host family were important because they weren’t just from me, but from my family to my host family. They were a way of saying, especially to my host mother, “Thanks for welcoming our daughter into your family.” Having a close relationship with my host mother was one of the most enriching parts of my experience. One day I was being quiet and she asked me what was wrong. I said I was stressed out, and she didn’t say anything. Instead she went out and came back with chocolate ice cream. We shared it, and she said: “No daughter of mine gets sick with stress.”

My journal was very important to have because it was a way of processing all the sensory overload that comes with being in a new country. It helped me clear my mind while I was there and now it helps me bring back details I may have otherwise forgotten.

Scarves or shawls were very useful because they protected from dust, wind, sun, and provided instant cover up if I felt I was showing too much skin. Senegalese women are incredibly creative at wrapping fabric around their hair (fulaars) or waist (pagnes) to fit any situation.

Angeline friends 

What was the best meal you had abroad?

My all-time favorite meal was a plate called mafé. It’s a plate of white rice with lamb and boiled vegetables drowned in spiced peanut sauce. My family served it at least once a week and each time I ate until I was about to burst which made my host mother really happy because her goal was to send me home fatter. By the end of my stay I learned to cook it.

Angeline cooking 

What was your proudest/most exciting moment abroad?

Some of my most exciting moments abroad came from traveling with the other Beloit girls during our spring break. We took a bus across the country, stayed in campaments, met interesting travel guides and locals, and swam in a waterfall. The waterfall was saved for the tail-end of the trip. We were so sun-sick, dehydrated, disgusting, and flat-out exhausted from our week of traveling that the hike up to the waterfall was done with our last bit of energy. But as soon as we got there, saw the fresh falling water, and felt the first cool air of the week on our skin we were instantly revitalized and had hours of fun swimming, lounging, eating fresh mangoes, and making new friends.

Angeline, waterfall 

What did you bring home from Senegal as a souvenir?

My favorite souvenir that I brought home is my attaya tea pot. Attaya is a really strong green tea with mint and lots of sugar that the Senegalese drink daily. Making and drinking attaya is more about the process and the people you make it for than the actual tea itself. I spent many hours making attaya with my closest Senegalese friends, and I will be reminded of all the conversations I had with them each time I make it in the U.S.

Angeline tea