As a senior at the University of Kentucky, with commencement around the corner, my mind is filled with many thoughts and worries about the future.
Where will I live? What kind of job will I land? Where is my life going from here?
But one question in particular has been nagging my brain these past few weeks:
How is the village of Ndoffane Boure?
Ndoffane Boure is the village in Senegal where the Circle of Sisterhood broke ground on a school build nearly two years ago. Two years! It is hard to believe it has been that long since the fifteen of us Trek Sisters were in Senegal, working alongside the villagers to create something so amazing for their youth: a school with the ability to remove barriers to girls’ education. As my time in formal education is coming to a close, the young girls and boys of Ndoffane Boure are just now embarking on their educational journey.
I have been thinking about the children of Ndoffane Boure more than ever. My host sister, Codou, was five years old at that time of the school build and was to start attending the school once it was finished. I am longing to see how she is doing and most importantly, how the school is impacting her life in a positive way. As I remember her beautiful enthusiasm and infectious smile, I can picture her skipping to school every morning with her friends in the village and spending her days in a safe and positive learning environment.
I can remember Codou, along with all of the other girls in the village, being so excited about us being there to help build their school. They would find us almost every morning and afternoon while we wrote in our journals and were so content to sit and watch us write. One day the girls took our journals and began to write their names in them. They were so proud to be able to write their names and I can only imagine how proud they must feel now that they have learned so much more. This was one of my favorite memories of the Trek because I could see the excitement and happiness brought to their eyes from writing. That was the moment where I fully understood how much this school meant to them.
Reflecting on my last two years in college I wish I could say I never took my education for granted after returning from the Trek, but I cannot. There were times when school was trying for me and it was difficult to feel motivated to push through, but no matter what my mind always wandered back to the children of Ndoffane Boure and how grateful they were to be going to school, and my determination would be restored.
The Circle of Sisterhood Trek to Senegal changed my whole outlook and made me realize how lucky I am to have the opportunity to be educated. I came back to the United States with a new mindset about school: it is a privilege and not to be taken for granted. As I prepare for graduation, I know there is still so much to be done, but my heart feels full knowing that we made education possible for the girls of Ndoffane Boure. It was a start, but we will work until every woman has the opportunity to be educated.
One World. One Sisterhood.
Reflections from Mary Kate Slone, Kappa Kappa Gamma, University of Kentucky