This photo essay is the last of three in Repair the World’s “Three Faces of Service – Japan, Alabama, Sengegal” series (see the first post here and the second post here). The photos and captions were contributed by Andrew Scheer.

Over the last few weeks, we learned about rabbinical student Andrew Scheer’s service trips to earthquake-plagued Japan and tornado-devastated Alabama. This week, we join him in Senegal.

Scheer’s trip in Senegal differs from his other two service trips in that he went not in response to a particular natural disaster or tragedy. Instead, he joined Repair the World grantee-partner American Jewish World Service (AJWS) on a service trip for rabbinical students to the poverty-stricken developing country.

“For all of the agony of those in Birmingham and Japan, the villagers of Ker Daouda Cisse have never known anything resembling the living standards of Americans or Japanese, rich or poor,” wrote Scheer. “While the world’s citizens are jolted into action when natural disaster strikes, whether in Haiti, Japan, Alabama or elsewhere, we seem to be overwhelmed by the multitude of problems associated with extreme poverty in the global south.”

Scheer and his colleagues were tasked not with fixing something recently broken, but providing comfort and service in a place that is too often forgotten. And yet, while the circumstances for this trip were different, the impact of the service (while there, the rabbinical students built a new garden for residents) and the depth of feeling and powerful connection between the students and the village residents, ran parallel to Scheer’s service in Japan and Alabama.

Below, check out a slideshow of moving images from Andrew’s service in Senegal (or click the slideshow to view larger images).

1. Jimmy Taber, of the Hornstein Program at Brandeis University, playing with one of the children of Ker Daouda Cisse.
2-3. Planting citron trees in the newly built garden of the village.
4-5. Before beginning work every morning, the participants and the residents of the village would dance and sing in traditional Senegalese style.
6. Hanniel Levens of the Academy for Jewish Religion teaching the children of Ker Daouda Cisse how to do a handstand.
7. Shuli Passow of Jewish Theological Seminary thanking the residents of the village for allowing us into their homes.