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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Jom & Jamm

A+large+bowl+with+Senegalese+food.+Four+to+five+family+members+will+sit+around+the+bowl+and+share+a+meal+together
A large bowl with Senegalese food. Four to five family members will sit around the bowl and share a meal together

Admiring traditional Senegalese values

Learning about cultural similarities and differences is one of my favorite parts of the study abroad experience. I was introduced very early on to the cultural values that are deeply ingrained in Senegalese society. Each one is visible through everyday encounters with my host family, my Senegalese friends and even strangers on the street. The values are in Wolof, the native language of the Wolof ethnic group and the most commonly spoken language in Senegal.

Téranga: hospitality—Senegalese people love to demonstrate their téranga! From eating around a shared bowl with friends and family to saying “salaam aleikum’ (peace be with you) to every person you pass on the street, téranga is an integral part of Senegal, and one that its people are proud of. 

Jom: honor/dignity/courage—Jom is sometimes referred to as the base for all other values in Senegal. 

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Kersa: modesty/restraint/politeness—Curtsying before elders, not shouting indoors and wearing relatively modest clothes (no skirts above the knees). 

Jamm: peace within relationships—The vast majority (95 %) of Senegal is muslim , with the other 5% being majority Christian. However, Senegal has always boasted a religious harmony on account of jamm

Yitté: cordiality/kindness—When entering or exiting a room, it is necessary to personally acknowledge each person in the room as an act of yitté. Don’t forget to do this, or people will definitely hold it against you! 

Ngor: trustworthiness 

Muñ: patience/endurance

Sutura: discretion—While the values of muñ and sutura is present in many aspects of Senegal, there is a small group of women combatting the use of muñ as a means to silence victims of sexual assault. 

These are just a few of the Senegalese values omnipresent in this country. I am about halfway through my program now and look forward to sharing more about Senegal!

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