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"Hokey Cokey's" popularity transcends national boundaries!

Practising the Hokey Cokey

Looking back at your time away on a project can be all the more memorable when it culminates in something which you help mould and create. Volunteers Holly Brown, Erin O'Quinn, Jessica Wood, and Lucy Beaumont did just that and as a result are leaving Senegal with even more than their fair share of amazing moments to reflect on.

Their time was always put to excellent use as they worked at a Children's Day Care Centre in Saint Louis. The centre is popular with local children and parents alike but is run, administered and the 40 odd young children all cared for one man of seemingly limitless energy known as Ton Ton Johnny.

Children, staff and volunteers at Ton Ton Johnny care centre

However, their crowning achievement was to prepare all the children for a spectacular fete just recently topped off with a rendition of the Hokey Cokey in English! The event it has to be said owes so much to the girls' unwavering oomph and zest. Ton Ton Johnny was impressed and left (almost!) speechless as were the many parents who came along to watch their sons' and daughters' progress on the day.

Lucy reflected that during the afternoon of the fete Ton Ton Johnny disappeared, Erin with children

'only to return half an hour later with a huge sound system, a DJ, and a horse and cart to transport the whole thing through the lake that has formed around the school! We then danced for about an hour, which was lots and lots of fun. The most tear-jerking moment was when Penda and Matar's [two students] Dad spoke… He said he was so proud that his children were coming home speaking English and he couldn't believe what a difference we had made in a month. It was so lovely!'.

The girls explained that the success of their projects was making things fun for the children as many were very young perhaps only 4 or 5 years old. This is where the idea for the singing and dancing routine for the 'Hokey Cokey' was born which instantly achieved 'classic' status.

Tonton Johnny, proprietor of the care centre


It goes without saying that the girls did a fantastic job. However, they would be the first to say that as their project shows, with a little bit of get-up-and-go and enthusiasm you too could help make a difference to some young children. If you did, you will find yourself more than rewarded not least in terms of happy memories.

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