Selfies in Senegal / by Lucas Turner

I am bursting with happiness to be back in the field with buildOn as I prepare for the Clemson Circle of Sisterhood trek team to arrive in Senegal! 🙌🌍

Words cannot describe how amazing it is to live in a village full of so much energy, culture and tradition. Trek is not your typical "voluntourism" - we live in the homes of the villagers, share meals together, work side by side and live life together. It is a fully immersive experience and when we leave, we leave as family full of emotion, memories and love. Everyone is on a level playing field - regardless of age, gender, nationality, skin color, etc.

So, before you judge my selfies and photos with these kiddos and the community, and tell me that I am objectifying them, or that I am putting myself on a pedestal as a white savior or saint, listen up. I am no saint. I am just a guy that happens to work internationally and likes to have fun while doing it. Last night, I led a community-wide meeting of over 50 people to prepare for our team's arrival. It was full of excitement, dancing, questions and pure curiosity. At the end, the whole community and myself took many photos and it was a riot. We had the time of our lives taking selfies, looking at the photos immediately as they were taken and we laughed our butts off. You can't tell me that I am doing something wrong by doing that. There have been many times I have been self conscious of posting photos of myself and the community's I work in because of judgmental critics. Well, those days of being hesitant are over because we are all humans, we all have joy and to be honest, selfies are fun and one hell of a good way to break the ice.

So, look at the joy on these kiddos faces. That joy is real and genuine. My hope and purpose for my photos are to show everyone the real and genuine side of working internationally. Hell, the genuine side of living for that matter. Also, I want to give you a glimpse into what I do. Believe it or not, Africa is a continent, not a country, and there are millions of people living life to the fullest that are incredibly happy. 🌍