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Jimmy Swan ’12, a sociology major at Binghamton University, is living and working in Senegal as a Peace Corps volunteer. Since arriving, he has become fluent in Pulaar. Here he is holding holding Alpha, the son of his friend and Senegalese counterpart, Moussa Diallo.
Swan lives in a thatched-roof, 12-by-12 hut in Pakour, a remote village in southern Senegal not far from the Guinea-Bissau border. His compound has no running water. Electricity is limited to six hours a day. Meals are meager, and on some days there is no meat. But he has made a home in the searing heat of sub-Saharan West Africa. Fifty-four percent of Senegal’s population lives in poverty.
In his 27-month commitment to the Peace Corps,Swan's mission is to help the Senegalese people as an agricultural extension agent. At a master farm near his village, he and Diallo teach agricultural techniques and distribute seeds and help build fences to keep livestock away. from crops.
The men have also have nurtured a large elementary school garden where the children eat the fruits of their labor at lunchtime.
Jimmy Swan's father, Jim Swan, sent this report after a recent visit. Jim Swan is deputy sports editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Read about his trip to Senegal and see more photos on his Facebook page.