A wise individual more than once said to me “This bridge year is as much for your community as it is for you, with a little more emphasis on the for you bit”

In country orientation had a lot of emphasis on the community aspect for me. With the language classes on most days, educational and cultural site visits, drumming lessons and a huge tabaski celebration it was like a 5-week crash course on Senegal!

Somewhere along the line I lost the “for you” bit, and so today I decided to find it by going on a run on a path I was to pave for myself.

Deciding was the easy part, getting out of bed was the real deal,and as I pressed snooze on my alarm for the 3rd time, I smiled to myself because I realized, some things never change. No matter where in the world you are, getting out of bed is not an easy task.

I encountered a lot of interesting moments on my run today. The shocked look a vegetable seller gave me as I walked through her stall in an attempt to avoid a bunch of scary barking dogs amused me more than it amazed her. With Galantis’ Runaway (u and I) blasting in my ear, I closed my eye for a millisecond and inhaled the fresh morning air with a hint of horse poop ( I’m sure it was more than a hint but I believe my nose has adjusted). Just as I opened my eyes, I was distracted by the sight of a “brownie” in the near distance on the floor. I ran breathlessly towards it with mixed emotions of happiness and anger, because I was excited to see a brownie but I was annoyed that it was now lying on the dirt road wasted.

Looking back now, I’m glad I didn’t stop to take a close look because it turned out to be just horse/donkey poop with the right amount of dust on it. It’s funny what you can imagine when you get the “western life blues”.

Anyways I ran all the way to the main road where I decided to slow my pace as I approached a group of women because greeting properly is mandatory in this side of the world even though you are breathless. To my surprise they responded by asking me if I was running, and the Nigerian in me almost emerged as I almost replied with a sarcastic “no, I’m flying”. I mean in all fairness, they were probably just trying to be nice/appreciate my efforts.

I was in the long stretch now, as I approached my home, and i swear every person I ran past turned to look at me. I mean people say running does wonders to your body, but I didn’t think it will happen so fast. I’m still not sure if it was how fast i was running or my “explicit foreignness” that made them turn their heads, but i choose to believe it was the latter.

Morale of this post my dear friends, go for a run! you’ll definitely feel great afterwards, but most importantly you never know what misunderstood art you might find, or whose heads you might turn with your amazing fitness.

(Written: 6th of October 2016)