What went well?
The progress I made; what was achieved and done
Achieved one of my milestones — to join Tabaski celebrations at a local family. Despite all the barriers, I managed to take part in the celebrations alone without my supervisor present (he went back to his hometown). My first time on a motorcycle, first time attending Eid prayers outside a mosque, and my first lunch with a local family! The family could not be more hospitable as they gifted me a boubou (traditional clothing).
What could have been done differently?
Things that did not get done and/or could be changed
Try to be more understanding of others’ conditions. I asked if I can have a larger boubou (because it is a bit tight and small for me), but actually I thought whether it was the right question to ask as people here have humble beginnings. Eventually, the atmosphere was a little bit embarrassing when I privately asked my friend.
Maybe improve my memory a bit. I have been forgetting people’s names and basic Wolof phrases.
What did I learn about myself when working with others?
Contributions, behaviours and values I exhibited
Happiness is just that simple. Live here is very different from that in Hong Kong, but I am sure it is much more healthier. Instead of sticking to their phones and tablets, children and teenagers here play football, swim in the river, tour around in a motorcycle, and enjoy ataya (Senegalese tea culture) under a tree during the day.
What did I learn about leadership?
Leadership attributes and insights I developed
Ask when you do not know, or when you want to know more. Let us not assume that questions are offensive. On the contrary, people here welcome questions. Also, they just like Asian people like me dressed in their traditional outfit —— the boubou and the kufi, which is Senegal’s national costume. It is not cultural appropriation as long as it is not out of bad faith and mockery.
What do I want to develop or focus on next?
What I still need to develop
Probably developing connections with hotel staff too, they have been looking after me for weeks and I did not grasp the chance to communicate with them
Although I am advised against from trying food outside of the hotel, I want to try more of the local cuisine here, e.g., coffee touba