This story originally aired on March 2, 2019.
Some kids go straight to college after high school. But Marisa Comeau-Kerege went to Senegal.
She knew she wanted to do a gap year, she spoke a little French, and this francophone country in West Africa seemed like a great fit. So she signed up for a service program and began to prepare. She expected a bit of culture shock, but once she got there she realized how unprepared she really was. Everything was new, all the time, she says. And there were times when she felt very homesick.
Meanwhile, in Edmonds, Marisa's dad Dan Kerege was missing his daughter. He knew she was growing up fast and having lots of new experiences. He knew he couldn't travel to Senegal with her, but he wanted to find a way to connect with what she was going through.
That's when a little Senegalese restaurant in Columbia City named La Teranga entered their lives.
In this story, Dan and Marisa tell the story of how La Teranga, and the proprietor Mamadou Diakhate, helped them stay connected during the eight months they were apart.