Senegal native studies for entrepreneurial career

Senegal native studies for entrepreneurial careerJune 01, 2023

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Ndeye Ndour standing outside in native Senegal dress.

Twenty-year-old Senegal native Ndeye Ndour has lived in the U.S. for four years and started taking classes at Midland College in August 2022.  

“U.S. History is my favorite class,” Ndour said.  “It’s amazing how a little group of colonies became the most powerful country in the world!”

Ndour said that she would like to stay in the United States.  She is majoring in Business Administration and wants one day to start her own business.  The entrepreneurial spirit is in her genes.  Her aunt and uncle currently live in Midland and have a trucking company.  

“I moved to the United States when I was 16,” Ndour explained.  “At the time, I had family living in New York, so I lived in Queens and graduated from John Adams High School about a year ago.  New York was interesting, fun and a good place to vacation; however, there is a lot of crime.  I much prefer the quiet, safe life that Midland has to offer.  The winters in Midland are chillier than in Senegal—but not as bad as New York!”

Even though Ndour wants to remain in the U.S., she fondly recalls her childhood in Senegal.  

“Senegal is located on the westernmost point of the African continent and is known as the ‘Gateway to Africa,’” she explained.  “I grew up in Saint Louis, which is the old colonial city and near the mouth of the Senegal River.  Saint Louis was the French capital of Senegal from 1673 until 1902, when the capital was moved to Dakar.  It is also close to the island of Goree, which is the location on the Atlantic Ocean where many Africans passed before embarking on wooden slave ships to Europe and the U.S. between the 16th and 19th centuries.”  

Despite this dark time in history, Senegal is a lovely country.  It lies at an ecological boundary where semiarid grassland, oceanfront and tropical rainforest converge.   This diverse environment has endowed Senegal with a wide variety of plant and animal life. 

“One of the most beautiful places in Senegal is Lake Retba or ‘Lac Rosa,’ Ndour said.   “It is a natural pink salt lake and one of the richest algae sources in Africa.  Its pink hue comes from the algae concentrations.  It is also one of the saltiest lakes in the world.  Salt farming from the lake is a major industry in the area.”

Ndour also said that religion and beliefs occupy an important place in the daily lives of the people of Senegal.  Many denominations of the religion of Islam (the largest faith in the country) are represented.  

“One of my favorite holidays is Aid el Kebir, or Holiday of the Sacrifice,” Ndour said.  “It honors the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God’s command.  Before Abraham could sacrifice his son, however, God provided him with a lamb which he was supposed to kill in his son's place because of his willingness to sacrifice his own son in the name of God.  In commemoration of this intervention, animals are ritually sacrificed. Part of their meat is consumed by the family, while the rest of the meat is distributed to the poor and the needy. Sweets and gifts are given, and extended family members are typically visited and welcomed.   We also wear traditional Senegal clothes on this day.”

Ndour speaks fluent English, which is her third language.  Before starting to school, she spoke Wolof, which is the native language of Senegal.  However, all subjects in school are taught in French, so she also considers French as a “first language.”  She learned English as a “second language” in school.

“Not only does Ndeye speak English, she also writes very well,” Dr. William Christopher Brown, Midland College English professor and department chair, said.  “She is friendly and smart; I enjoyed having her in my class.”

“School in the U.S. is very different from school in Senegal,” Ndour said.  “There were no computers in our school in Senegal.  We had to memorize EVERYTHING.  All tests were comprehensive.  They tested us on everything we had learned.  When I moved to New York to finish high school, I actually found it much easier than in Senegal.”

Ndour explained that the opportunities for females to go to college in Senegal are somewhat limited.

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to attend Midland College,” she said. 

In addition to being a full-time student, Ndour also works approximately 16 hours per week at Chick-fil-A. In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies, especially Bollywood movies, and reading novels in both French and English.  

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