We just got back from a trip to Senegal with a couple different nonprofit organizations. we wanted to quickly share some of the imagery and show some of the faces of the beautiful people we were fortunate enough to spend time with in three small remote (middle of the bush) mud-hut-filled villages in Senegal. Life in these villages is still really complicated (lots of need and many struggles), but in comparison to my way of life in the U.S., it was a breath of fresh air to slow down, simplify and just be known… not by what I have or what I do for a living.

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The image ABOVE is Pastor Joel in front of his church, he’s basically the man :) He pastors three villages, traveling by horse and cart. What impressed me most about Joel was not only his love for the Lord, but how every person (mostly Muslims) in these villages knew him well, and had massive amounts of respect for who he was. He’s a soul winner and an inspiration. BELOW are a few series of images from a village wrestling match (wrestling is HUGE in Senegal). Although really intriguing to watch, it was quite primitive, scary and dark… they would perform rituals and cover themselves with charms and potions to gain favor of the spirits to defeat their opponent. The men would just walk around in trances, doing ritualistic magic waiting for their chance to wrestle.

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The left image ABOVE shows the handwriting of an old man who gave Gary his Serere name (African Senegal name), which is pronounced Saw-nu Sang-gor… it basically means he’s a big deal in Senegal ;) It’s kind of the equivalent of being named after George Washington or Ben Franklin or some historic western figure :) BELOW are a few images from an afternoon trip to Goree Island (before we boarded our plane back to the states). The small island off the coast of Senegal was said to have played a significant role in the west African slave trade (“the door of no return” below, and some cells where slaves were held for months at a time – treated like animals, bought and sold and separated from their families… heart breaking) It was intense and pretty heavy to see examples of how the slave trade operated throughout west Africa… such a dark time in history.

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