Senegalese men arrive to teach, learn

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America isn't filled with the gun-toting bad guys you see on TV and not everyone wears baggy clothes like rappers.

Racine Bocar Sow (left) and Baidy Dieye have come to Augusta from Senegal and will be sharing their culture with students at Augusta State University. The men, who also will attend classes at ASU, said they were warned of the dangers of walking down American streets. Instead, the men said they have been greeted warmly.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Racine Bocar Sow (left) and Baidy Dieye have come to Augusta from Senegal and will be sharing their culture with students at Augusta State University. The men, who also will attend classes at ASU, said they were warned of the dangers of walking down American streets. Instead, the men said they have been greeted warmly.

Racine Bocar Sow and Baidy Dieye, natives of the African country of Senegal, arrived at Augusta State University last week as part of a cultural exchange through the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program. Until now, the two had never left Africa.

Don't go out at night and return straight home after class, Mr. Sow, 27, recalled being told. American cities are dangerous, just like the images on television portray them to be, he was advised.

But he is discovering that isn't true. Instead, he has been shown "ganale," a Senegal word for extreme hospitality, he said.

As part of the cultural exchange, Mr. Sow and Mr. Dieye will be living among college students at University Village, attending college classes and teaching classes at ASU on Senegal. Their students will learn Wolof, one of the languages of Senegal, a country on the northwest coast of Africa.

"We do no teach a language just to teach a language, but also the culture of the speaker of the language," Mr. Dieye, 27, said.

Through his teaching, he hopes to raise awareness about a foreign culture.

For instance, there's no such thing as a quick hello in Senegal, Mr. Dieye said. It could take 15 minutes to greet someone and inquire about family members, and people from Senegal are very passionate about welcoming people to their country.

In April, Augusta State students visited Senegal. Some were scared because locals ran after them to greet them, said Holly Carter, the assistant vice president for international affairs. It took understanding the culture for the students to be at ease.

"People were giving us food, and we had more resources than the people offering," Dr. Carter said of their warmth.

The teaching assistants are also adjusting to the eating habits of Americans, such as free drink refills at restaurants.

Mr. Dieye and Mr. Sow said they look forward to experiencing life in America, especially sports. Basketball, for instance, is something they've only seen on television.

As for American music, rappers such as 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg are big in Senegal, Mr. Dieye said. People who want to look American dress in baggy clothing.

When they return to Senegal, they will take what they've learned and teach English to high school students.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

CULTURAL EXCHANGE


Racine Bocar Sow and Baidy Dieye will teach their native language of Wolof and the culture and history of Senegal through Augusta State University's continuing education department.

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xqwbv2
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xqwbv2 08/14/07 - 06:48 am
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Welcome to Augusta and the

Welcome to Augusta and the United States, gentlemen. I hope you teach our students much, and learn much from them as well.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 08/14/07 - 07:37 am
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Welcome to Augusta (begins to

Welcome to Augusta (begins to pray and ask God to shield and hedge them in and use them for his Glory).

opal
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opal 08/14/07 - 09:18 am
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just don't go down laney

just don't go down laney walker!!!!!

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 08/14/07 - 09:20 am
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Or go up Walton Way, go up

Or go up Walton Way, go up central ave, go up wrightsboro rd, God forbid they go up Highland.

Opal wonder why you singled out Laney Walker, why not 9th, Henry Street, Broad Street, is it because Laney Walker is in the predom black neighborhood, why you had to come out with your subtle (No BLATANT) racist post.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 08/14/07 - 09:21 am
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Opal I wonder will people

Opal I wonder will people like you EVER stop adding wood to the race fire in Augusta, it's ashame you couldn't just say welcome to Augusta to these individuals.

hardtobelieve
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hardtobelieve 08/14/07 - 09:56 am
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I hope these two young men

I hope these two young men don't take back the negativity of those who just can't be happy for anyone (Opal). I think it is wonderful for these two young men to be here in Augusta to experience what we have to offer and to share their culture with us.

ganzo23
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ganzo23 08/16/07 - 07:26 am
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MR Dieye and Mr sow have been

MR Dieye and Mr sow have been valuable and very dedicated teachers here in Senegal. I believe that their presence in Augusta will be an important asset in any intercultural echange debate or dicussion they will be taking part. I hope they they will be true ambassadors of the Senegalese culture and once home will be able to give us a more faithful pictureof the Americans. Best of luck to you Baidy and Racine

dhd1108
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dhd1108 08/23/07 - 11:23 am
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actually laney walker is

actually laney walker is pretty nice. just don't go down east boundary. or eve street in harrisburg. scary.

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