2019 DCI Senegal Service Adventure

IMPORTANT: PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDER FOR EMAILS FROM @WALKINGTREE.ORG AND BE SURE TO ADD US TO YOUR CONTACT LIST. PLEASE ENSURE YOUR PASSPORT IS VALID FOR SIX MONTHS BEYOND THE PROGRAM END DATE.
Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2019 DC International Senegal Service Adventure!  We have created two webpages dedicated to this once in a lifetime experience so that travelers and families are as informed as possible throughout the process. This first page, the Pre-Enrollment page, is meant to share exciting details, highlights, and pertinent info that participants will want to know before enrolling.  Once enrolled, the Post-Enrollment page will be shared with you and is intended to prepare travelers in more detail for the adventure ahead. Please be sure to review the information thoroughly and get excited for West Africa!
Travel Dates: June 24, 2019 - July 5, 2019
Group Organizer(s):
WTT/SSA Contact:
Deadline(s): Enrollment deadline is January 11th

What to Expect

Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.

Itinerary

We work hard to create safe, engaging, and immersive itineraries for our travelers, but given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but if inclement weather pushes us off course or an unexpected opportunity arises which travelers are excited about, we reserve the right to adjust programming in the best interest of the group. 

DayLocationDescriptionLodging
June 24USA - Dakar, SenegalToday the group will fly from the USA to Dakar, Senegal.In Flight
June 25DakarThe group lands in the capital city of Dakar and will head to our hotel which sits right on the coast. We'll spend most of this day resting, relaxing and recuperating from our long day of travel. We'll also make time for an orientation meeting, a visit to a bank to exchange money and possibly a visit with the Peace Corps office. If local language classes are of interest, they can be arranged in Dakar upon request.Hotel Calao
June 26DakarWe will spend most of this day touring Goree Island, the departure point for millions of Africans during the centuries-long slave trade, sitting just off the coast of Dakar. We'll explore the island with a local guide and, time allowing, explore some of the bigger artisanal markets in the capital.Hotel Calao
June 27Host CommunityToday we will depart for our host community, arriving in the afternoon. We will tour the community and place students with their respective families. We may even begin service work this day as well!Host Family
June 28Host CommunityOur service days in our host community represent the heart and soul of our program. We will volunteer on meaningful service project/s during the day while also enjoying sufficient free time to hang out with host families and fellow travelers, practice language skills and explore the surrounding area. At the end of our time in our host community we'll help organize a going away party to celebrate the time with our new friends and family.Host Family
June 29Host CommunityWe will continue working on our service project and spending time with our host families.Host Family
June 30Host CommunityWe will continue working on our service project and spending time with our host families.Host Family
July 1Host Community - JaibalitoWe will continue working on our service project and spending time with our host families.Host Family
July 2Host CommunityWe will continue working on our service project and spending time with our host families.Host Family
July 3Host Community - MbourWe will depart our host community and travel to Mbour on the central Atlantic coast of Senegal. After arriving at a lovely hotel we,ll spend the day resting, relaxing and swimming in the ocean!Pierre de Lisse
July 4Mbour - Bandia National Park Today the group will embark on a safari in one of Senegal’s best game parks! We'll tour a large swath of the savannah in a jeep with our English-speaking tour guide and marvel at a wide range of animals. This evening we will enjoy our last evening together in the country with a celebratory dinner.Pierre de Lisse
July 5Mbour - USATravel back to USAYour own bed, eventually!

Need to Raise Money? We have you covered.

Our travelers are provided with funding opportunities that are easy to implement and fun to take part in. Our flagship fundraiser involves selling fair trade, organic, carbon-neutral coffee from a women’s collective in Peru. There is no limit to the amount you can earn, so get started now by clicking the link below!

START FUNDRAISING  

WTT coffee

Accommodations

In order to provide a safe and memorable experience for travelers, we follow strict guidelines when choosing our accommodations. Walking Tree partners with locally-operated, three-star equivalent hotels which are centrally located, clean, safe and wifi-enabled. 

For rooming, travelers are grouped by gender, and will never share rooms with people who are not associated with their group.  Non-binary travelers are accommodated. Group Organizers and Program Leaders, along with any other traveling adult, are roomed separately from students.
Below are the hotels we anticipate using on your trip, subject to availability. 
Hotel Le Calao du Lac Rose

This lovely, family-run property is a short distance from the international airport near an enchanting pink salt lake. The ocean-front hotel is located on beautiful grounds where students stay in individual cabanas surrounded by flower and tree-lined paths. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.

Homestay

Staying with a host family allows our travelers to truly immerse themselves in the culture of their destination, and to build lasting friendships with local people in the host community.

La Pierre de Lisse

A small paradise about 45 minutes from Dakar, La Pierre de Lisse is true oasis located on the beach of Toubab Dialaw. Students will stay in private cabanas of stone walls and thatch roofs scattered throughout a large, exotic garden. Internet access throughout in the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.

Group Flight

Type Carrier Name Carrier Code Flight Number Departure City Departure Date and Time  Arrival City Arrival Date and Time 
Outbound
AT
219
IAD – Washington Dulles International Airport, Dulles, USA
June 24, 2019 at 10:00PM
CMN – Mohammed V International Airport, Casablanca, Morocco
June 25, 2019 at 10:20AM
Outbound
AT
505
CMN – Mohammed V International Airport, Casablanca, Morocco
June 25, 2019 at 4:00PM
DSS – Blaise Diagne International Airport, Dakar, Senegal
June 25, 2019 at 6:30PM
Inbound
AT
500
DSS – Blaise Diagne International Airport, Dakar, Senegal
July 5, 2019 at 7:20AM
CMN – Mohammed V International Airport, Casablanca, Morocco
July 5, 2019 at 11:30AM
Inbound
AT
218
CMN – Mohammed V International Airport, Casablanca, Morocco
July 5, 2019 at 4:35PM
IAD – Washington Dulles International Airport, Dulles, USA
July 5, 2019 at 7:59PM

We will provide additional details on your Group’s Flight and travel day details here.

We will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the group organizer before departure. Nevertheless, travelers will need to check in at the airport and we recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure. For details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure, please contact your Group Organizer.

A NOTE ON FLIGHTS
Air travel is unpredictable. Although we can ensure that our groups arrive to the airport with ample time and follow all airline instructions, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, mechanical problems, labor strikes, etc. Please note that in such an event Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unexpected costs incurred by travelers. Our programs officially begin and end in our host countries. That being said, our travelers’ well-being and safety is our number one priority, so please know that should flight delays/cancellations occur we will do everything we can to get travelers home in a timely manner and will do our best to keep family members updated on developments.

WTT is not responsible for fees associated with checked baggage. Please visit the airline’s baggage webpage to find out about baggage fees and options. It is also important to make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the final day in country.

UN-ACCOMPANIED MINORS
Please confirm with your air travel provider as some airlines may require that travelers under a certain age have completed an unaccompanied minor parental consent form. Please consult the airline website to confirm if this is required on your flight.

Host Community and Project Details

Ndianda
Located between Mbodiene and Joal, Ndianda is a small village in the Thies region of Senegal which hosted the DCI group in 2018 and is looking forward to a repeat visit in 2019. Ndianda has a population size of around 900 people and a majority of the inhabitants are Serer, one of the ethnic groups common in Senegal. Many of the inhabitants are involved in agricultural activities: farming comprises the main economic activity in this village. Ndianda grows a variety of different vegetables that are eaten throughout the country. Like many communities in Senegal, Ndianda has an equal population of Muslims and Christians. 

Living Conditions
The community of Ndianda has a mix of types of homes.  Some homes are the more “traditional” homes made of mud bricks, dirt floors and a thatched roof.  Other homes are “modern” constriction made of cinder blocks, concrete floors and tin roofs. Throughout the community, you will see both styles of homes. The homes that students will stay in are the modern style homes – most of which have electricity.  The construction of the homes is very basic, and most time includes just one or two rooms for sleeping. These buildings have electricity and toilets (mostly western style, but some are squat style toilets made of porcelain).  Toilet paper is also not available, so students should bring toilet paper with them.  There is no running water at homes, so students will need to use a bucket of water to flush the toilet and take a shower. The kitchen is almost always a separate building, and cooking is almost always done over a wood fire.  Some homes however use gas.

Packing List

What follows is a sample packing list, which will be updated for each program. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on hikes, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT and STUDENT ID.

CLOTHES:
6-8 pairs of underwear
6-8 pairs of socks (a mixture of good hiking socks and casual socks)
2 pairs of soccer socks to cover your legs during the day at the work site
4-6 t-shirts (some quick dry)
2-3 light-weight, long sleeve shirts
1 light sweater or sweatshirt
1 light rain jacket
2-4 pairs of travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
2-3 pairs of comfortable/hiking/everyday pants (NOT all jeans)
1 nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions)
1 pair of durable athletic/hiking shoes
1 pair of sandals, for showering in host community and beach
1 pair of work gloves
1 swim suit
1 good sun hat
Important Note for Female Travelers: In the interest of being respectful while still allowing travelers to be comfortable under the heat, (in public at least) shirts should cover shoulders and shorts or skirts/dresses should be conservative- that is, thighs, shoulders and decollete should be covered.

TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:
Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
Mosquito repellent (you will use a lot)
Band Aids and Neosporin
Hand Sanitizer
Prescription medication in properly marked original container
Biodegradable soap, shampoo, etc. That is to say, vegetable-based, biodegradable, and phosphate-free.

MISCELLANEOUS:
Passport
Sunglasses
Journal and pen
Book
Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
Power Converter and Adapter: Senegal runs on voltage of 230 Frequency of 50 Hz. Power sockets types: C / D / E / K
Alarm Clock and watch
Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
Durable water bottle
Water filtration device
1 quick-dry towel
Flashlight/headlamp
Extra batteries
Deck of cards or other portable games
Host family gift
Students ID
French/English Dictionary

HOMESTAY GIFTS

Travelers often contact us regarding what an appropriate gift might be for their student’s host family. Host families are often curious about where our students come from and their families in the U.S. As such, we recommend a simple gift that describes, represents or depicts your home. Well-received gifts in the past have included calendars or picture/coffee table books from your city or state, a framed picture of your family, paraphernalia from a local sports team, toys, soccer balls, school supplies, or something produced or grown in your hometown, like chocolate, local candy, t-shirts, etc. The most important thing to keep in mind is not to worry about this… Anything, no matter its value, will be well received!

Support Team

At minimum, one experienced Program Leader will travel on every program. In addition to this full time leadership presence, Walking Tree has additional support staff in all destinations and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado where we remain available to the group for additional help whenever necessary. Below you’ll find a list of the team members involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program. Meet your support team!

Fina Senghor
Fina Senghor
Senegal Country Director


University Gaston Berger of Saint-Louis – M.A Applied Foreign Languages (English and Spanish), Tourism and Conference Interpreting.

Fina was born and raised in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal. Later, due to her passion for languages, she went to Saint-Louis to continue her studies. After her master’s degree in 2008, she joined a British organization arranging trips for foreigners in developing countries around the world. Fina was in charge of welcoming young students to her country, who were coming to help and support local people in hard living conditions. With 9 years of experience working in multicultural environments, she is open-minded and very involved in social action. Furthermore, Fina is a member of cultural and social associations that give priority to the well-being of children and women in Africa.

Said Ait Said
Said Ait Said
Morocco Country Director & Program Leader


ISTA NTIC Syba Ofppt, Marrakech

Said was born in Marrakech, Morocco and was raised in the old Medina as well as an off the grid Berber village in the High Atlas Mountains. He enjoys camping, taking road trips and carpentry projects. In 2012 he graduated in IT Development and started working as a freelance contractor for Technical Specifications Development. A year later he started managing accommodations and excursions for travelers in Morocco, where he met his wife, who is American. They are a combination of Berber, Moroccan and American; speaking English, French, Arabic and Tamazighit. He also has a two year old son, named Solomon. Said and his family are currently living in Marrakech, embracing their multi-cultural lifestyle!

Luke Mueller
Luke Mueller
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO


Emory University – B.A. Sociology and minor in Latin American History

During college, Luke spent a semester living and traveling in rural Mexico. His experience sparked a fascination with Latin America and a commitment to community service that continues to this day. Upon graduating from college, he joined WorldTeach and lived with a local family in a small village in Costa Rica while teaching elementary English. After this experience, he moved to San José, the capital and largest city of Costa Rica, and wrote for The Tico Times newspaper. Luke has since traveled to over 60 countries on five different continents.  Now settled in Denver with his family, he continues to crave massive helpings of rice and beans.

Group Roster

See below for a list of travelers enrolled on the program.

  • 1 Adrien Robinson
  • 2 Alyssa Toussaint
  • 3 Amirah Jamal
  • 4 Brandon Romero-aju
  • 5 Coltrane Thompson
  • 6 Declan Clark
  • 7 Dillon Henderson
  • 8 Jahkai Dennis
  • 9 Kyla Harris
  • 10 Lillian Beach
  • 11 Luc Alliaume
  • 12 Lucy Gilmore
  • 13 Mary Thomas - Group Organizer
  • 14 Micah Clark-Sauve
  • 15 Nia Glin
  • 16 Nigussie Hutchinson
  • 17 Nkiruka Nwachukwu
  • 18 Quincy Almstrom
  • 19 Rich Kirkham
  • 20 Solomon Procunier
  • 21 Tori Sparks - Group Organizer
  • 22 Valerie Siwotso - Group Organizer
  • 23 Ymari Blake
23 Travelers

Blog and Communication

We work hard to keep families updated as frequently as possible with blogs and photos, giving you peace of mind that your traveler is safe and thriving on their program.  Students regularly contribute to these posts, giving parents a great way to vicariously track the progress of the trip. You will receive an email notification when the first blog is posted, and can check back any time via the black “Program Blog” button at the top of this page or the link included in the email.

Beyond our proactive approach to communication during the trip, most destinations are wired enough to allow participants semi-regular access to WiFi. Ask your Walking Tree representative about the degree of connectivity on your program.

For any general inquiries during travel, please email your Walking Tree Representative (see top of page) or info@walkingtree.org. You can also reach us by dialing 303-242-8541 from the United States.

 

GLC Curriculum

We have developed a curriculum of activities designed to help each of our travelers mature as global leaders before, during, and after their travel program. These simple and engaging tools are meant to spark discussion, frame experiences, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on this trip and on future adventures.

For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.

Learn More About the GLC

To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit our online portal at the button below.

Pre-Program Activity Portal

Standards of Behavior

Walking Tree provides fun, safe, and meaningful programs for our travelers. In order to achieve this goal, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct. Any of the following are grounds for early dismissal or in-country consequences at our discretion.

ABSOLUTE DISMISSAL

  1. Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
  2. Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
  3. Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE

  1. Getting a piercing or tattoo
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials
  3. Threatening with or using weapons such as firearms, knives, explosives, etc.
  4. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle
  5. Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew
  6. Breaking group rules

These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of a travel program. Please take the time to review these rules as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them before choosing to travel with us.

Health and Safety

We strongly recommend visiting the CDC Senegal website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.

Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. Walking Tree will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.

Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.

We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.

Insurance

While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers while on program, experience has taught us that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we suggest you consider purchasing Premier travel insurance which would cover you in the event your student needs to withdraw before travel due to a covered reason or loses baggage in route or encounters an emergency while traveling, among other unforeseen circumstances. While most travelers have opted in for us to purchase basic travel insurance on their behalf during the enrollment process, this plan does not cover trip interruption or trip cancellation. Please see a summary of a plan below and follow the link for a more detailed explanation or to purchase the plan for your traveler.

-Recommended Travel Insurance-

Premier*
Trip Cancellation Up to 100% of Trip Cost
Reimburses your prepaid, non-refundable expenses if you must cancel your trip due to a covered reason.
Maximum coverage: $100,000.

Trip Interruption Up to 150% of Trip Cost
Reimburses for the unused, non-refundable portion of your trip and for the increased transportation costs it takes for you to return home or to continue your trip due to a covered reason. Maximum coverage: $150,000.

Missed Connection $1,600
Reimburses for covered expenses resulting from a covered delay that causes you to miss your scheduled flight or cruise.

Travel Delay $1,600
Receive up to $200 per day per person to cover additional accommodation/travel expenses and lost prepaid expenses due to a departure delay of six or more hours.

Medical Protection: 
Emergency Medical and Dental $50,000
-This primary coverage provides reimbursement for expenses incurred during your trip due to covered medical and dental emergencies. No deductible.
-$750 maximum for emergency dental care.

Baggage Protection
Baggage Loss/Damage $2,000
Covers loss, damage or theft of baggage and personal effects.

Baggage Delay $600
Covers the reasonable additional purchase of essential items during your trip if your baggage is delayed or misdirected by a common carrier for 24 hours or more. Receipts for emergency purchases are required.

Assistance Services
Emergency Medical Transportation $1,000,000
Provides medically necessary transportation to the nearest appropriate facility following a covered injury or illness. Also covers the cost of your transportation back home following a covered injury or illness.

24-Hour Hotline Help Included
Help is just a phone call away with Allianz Global Assistance. Our staff of multilingual problem solvers is available to help you with a medical, legal or travel-related emergency.

*Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Insurance benefits underwritten by BCS Insurance Company (OH, Administrative Office: Oakbrook Terrace, IL), rated “A­” (Excellent) by A.M. Best Co., under BCS Form No. 52.201 series or 52.401 series, or Jefferson Insurance Company (NY, Administrative Office: Richmond, VA), rated “A+” (Superior) by A.M. Best Co., under Jefferson Form No. 101­C series or 101­P series, depending on your state of residence. Plan(s) may not be available in all jurisdictions. Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are marks of AGA Service Company or its affiliates. AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of this plan and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company. The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage due to the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson InsuranceCompany. Non­ Insurance benefits/products are provided and serviced by AGA Service Company. Consumer may be responsible for charges incurred from outside vendors for assistance or concierge services. Contact AGA Service Company at 800­-284­-8300 or 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233 or customerservice@allianzassistance.com.

Top