A step towards a balanced and healthy life
Maison de la Gare works to give the talibé children a better understanding of their environment and of the world beyond their lives in their daaras and on the streets. Thanks to the support of Maison de la Gare's international partners, excursions are included in the curriculum of the children who come to the organization's center in Saint Louis, and this allows them to feel involved in the broader Senegalese community. Such excursions are particularly valuable for these children who live in very difficult circumstances and are not able to take charge of their own learning.
In this context Bouri MBodj, a teacher in Maison de la Gare's center, organized a field trip to Bango on the banks of the Senegal River so that the children could experience the amazing diversity of this place that is only a few tens of kilometers from Saint Louis.
For many of these children, this was the first time that they had had such an experience. Bango is one of the extensions of the Saint Louis region, stretching northward on the right bank of the Senegal River. The area has been populated over time by the Peulh community, but it is also important for all Senegalese. The largest military training center in Senegal is in Bango, and half of the country's fruit crop comes from this region. The Bango region is particularly notable for its biodiversity, reflecting both the close proximity of the Senegal River and the open spaces which have been preserved for natural vegetation and animals such as monkeys, warthogs and hippopotamuses. Mangrove trees are found along the river, together with the great variety of aquatic species which they harbour.
After completing our visit, we spent time with the children to help them to understand and retain what they had learned about this area and its environment. They learned the meaning and significance of words and concepts including mangroves, fish nests, riverbed, and degradation of arable areas. The correct answers which the children gave to Bouri and to Bineta Coly, MDG's nurse who had accompanied them, showed that they had learned well from this experience.
And after the explanations, we took action! We illustrated the value of nature during a session on tooth brushing - information for example on the type of wood to be used. There are species around us that can heal the body without a lot of expense, such as the "kad" fruit tree that produces tamarind and of which the wood bleeds a fluid that hardens the enamel of teeth. Many children took advantage of twigs from this tree to brush their teeth.
At the end of the day, we celebrated with a well-earned lunch break, and all of the children returned to Saint Louis with some positive ideas and a better understanding of the environment that they live in.
It was a wonderful day for children and young people of Maison de la Gare's center! Please help us with your donations to make more such excursions possible.
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