The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South speech looks at African culture

By Amanda Khadra/reporter

Journey to Senegal, West Africa offered students a look at African culture and lifestyle last week on South Campus.

Carlos Antonio Rovelo, South government instructor and a Fulbright-Hays Scholar, described his experience in Senegal with slide shows and pictures Feb. 18.

“Culture is everything we do,” he said. “It’s like taking off your American glasses and putting on the African glasses. It’s when you see normal.”

Rovelo was among 12 professors chosen for a monthlong 2006 Fulbright-Hays Scholar program in Senegal.

“We lived, taught, explored and shared our academic work and culture with students, faculty and local governments,” he said.

Africa is the second-largest continent after Asia with an estimated population of 922 million. The most common religion is Islam, and the most common language is French.

Rovelo said religion plays an important role in the lives of Senegalese. He said the children are passionate about their religion, taking a class to memorize the entire Quran. While in Senegal, Rovelo said he was allowed to sit in a room alone listening to recitations of the Quran.

“Listening to verses of the Quran, I just melted,” he said.

During his stay, he lived with a family comprised of a man, three wives and 40 children.

“When it was time to eat, they would place the food on the floor and everyone would dig in with their hands,” he said. “I had to make sure my hands were clean.”

Their food differs greatly compared to the American food. Rovelo said he was often intrigued by the different kinds of foods he tried.

“Tasting something for the first time is better than kissing,” he said.

Rovelo also spent two weeks in the Sahara Desert with his colleagues.

He said for too many people their knowledge of Africa is often stereotyped with the cartoon Tarzan.

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