07.30.13 / Category: Impact - School Build Projects

To Senegal and Back: Elana’s Story


Since returning from the most amazing journey of my life thus far, I can honestly say that the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation, and the wonderful people of Ndoffane Boure, Senegal, have deeply touched my heart forever. In the village, I was privileged and humbled to have been shown true selflessness, generosity, and hospitality, despite the evident poverty. My host family welcomed me and my roommate Sparling, into their homes and into their hearts without any hesitation. The pure joy, and deeply embedded sense of community we came to learn in the village, is something I had never seen.

It was amazing to me how these people live such joyous lives while enduring such poverty. We met a 2-year-old girl, who was so malnourished that she was unable to walk. Her parents knew something was wrong they just didn’t know what. It was translated to them how they need to be feeding her more protein; we can only pray that the message was understood, and that they have the means to provide the appropriate food for her. After learning of this girl’s story, I realized, more than ever, how important the mission of Circle of Sisterhood Foundation really is. Education is the key to opening so many doors in life; doors that the women and girls of Ndoffane Boure deserve.

One of my fellow Trek teammates, Emily, shared a great quote with me. It says, “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” I think that the people of the village have come into my life for a reason, and have touched my heart for a lifetime. I can’t wait to see where my new found inspiration takes me. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll be traveling across the U.S. spreading the mission of the Foundation, or leading a new group of sorority women on their own life-changing Trek. After all, sorority women can, and will change the world; a fact that, if I was unsure of before this experience, I certainly have no doubts about now. Each woman of the Trek team brought her own unique strengths and wisdoms with her. I could not have asked for a better group of women with whom to have experienced this journey.

Looking back on the past couple weeks, I’m still in awe that this this experience really happened. It has been surreal, but I know that I have definitely been changed for the better. This world has so much warmth and light in it, and I can’t wait to help kindle the flames in my future endeavors. Circle of Sisterhood will always be a part of my life, and hold a special place in my heart. One World. One Sisterhood. Always.

Thank you to Elana Katz for sharing her experience in her own words. Katz is a proud Pi Beta Phi member, initiated at the University of Connecticut, where she is a student. She is one of 15 women, representing the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation who traveled to Senegal this month to break ground on a school, putting the Foundation’s mission into action. “The Circle of Sisterhood will leverage the collective wisdom and influence of sorority women to support entities around the world that remove the educational barriers for girls and women, uplifting them from poverty and oppression. Support our work here.