Beautiful Reality

Emily Collins - Senegal

April 14, 2013


As my time here is beginning to come to an end, and realizations of college being my new upcoming reality, I can’t help but think what it is this experience has done for me. I know I’ve changed in many ways; various means that I will never even realize have altered. I’ve been gone from home for just over 7 months now, living in Joal for just about 6 months. I’ve had a family take me in as their own, made friends with incredible people I could never forget, become an older sister to one of the most bright young girl I’ll ever encounter, and created a community for myself from scratch. I’ve eaten enough ceeb et jen to last me for an eternity, and become known for dancing the borebore everywhere. I’ve met some remarkable children who light up my morning each day, and created my own book, song, and class for them.  I have ridden in a horse wagon, hiked up a mountain, and been able to listen to the sound of the ocean each night until I drift into sleep. But there’s so much more than just the physical activities I’ve done. So much more than the places I’ve seen or the advancement in language I’ve completed. There’s something inside of me that could never imagine the world the same. Regardless of the fact that I have been to just one small country, and mainly in just one town, the hospitality and inclusion I have felt will never be forgotten. I now have a deeper understanding that the world is in fact utterly interconnected; that we are all people alike and all want to feel happiness. Why is it that this is so easily forgotten? Why is it that when we step back from the artificial world we live in today of desire, that we realize how beautiful the sunset is and how amazing that it happens every day. That regardless of the conditions we are living under, the sun will come once again, and people will continue to move. The world will spin and we will grow nevertheless of who we are or where we live. The beautiful reality of it is, no one actually knows. With this in mind, I have decided if for nothing else in this lifetime, I will live for the world, for the community of mankind; that whatever it is I study at the University of Rhode Island, or complete throughout my years on this earth, somehow in some way I will always try to benefit someone. Through my experiences here I have realized the faults of living selfishly, of living only for oneself. I’ve realized the fortune I’ve been granted for simply being born where I was and with the people who raised me. With this said, there is no way to fully grasp the passion I have for making the world a little brighter, no way to put into words the dedication I have to live my life with intention. This year has given me a little time to meditate, a lot of time to dream and turn those dreams into a focus. Regardless of where I go next or who I encounter, I believe I will never stop. Never stop caring, never stop showing compassion, and never consider myself someone who can’t do something ever again.

Emily Collins