What went well?
The progress I made; what was achieved and done
I gained a much more thorough understanding of the issue of Senegal’s child beggars, which gave me an entirely new perspective of the talibes in Senegal (although almsgiving is still being strongly advised against). Basically, they are poor village boys who were sent to Quranic schools in the city by their families for the prospect of better education, food, etc. and spiritual success. Very often, it is the contrary that took place — exploitation, forced labour and begging.
What could have been done differently?
Things that did not get done and/or could be changed
Probably I would have planned better for the tour in Casamance, as I had not conducted enough research on the region and its culture
What did I learn about myself when working with others?
Contributions, behaviours and values I exhibited
If you desire or want something, do not be shy to ask for it. Be straightforward and frank with your requests so that others understand and can help you. I originally was not planned to visit Casamance, but luckily I got the chance to visit Kolda, Sedhiou, and Ziguinchor after I told my supervisor about it. The picturesque natural scenery aside, it was an invaluable opportunity to experience the southern Pulaar and Jola culture, which are distinct from the dominant Wolof in the north.
What did I learn about leadership?
Leadership attributes and insights I developed
Be frank about your intentions is key to effective communication. Do not be shy to propose as everything is negotiable, and refusal would not impair the working relationships. I realised that had I did not request, I would not have the chance to visit Casamance.
What do I want to develop or focus on next?
What I still need to develop
I think there is still significant room for improvement in remembering people’s names. When I arrived at Tambacounda and met my colleagues at the base, I still cannot recall all of their names.