Emily Ford - Senegal

September 7, 2012

Every time I have constructed a mental globe over the past 10 days, my mind, Google Maps style, zooms into the western most coast of Africa. Yet instead of the envisioning my future home, Senegal has been blacked out. All I see is darkness. When I hear the anecdotes from past Senegal fellows, I have consciously and diligently distracted myself in any way possible. As other fellows gush over excitements and expectations for the coming eight months, my internal calendar remains blank of any anticipations. The fact of the matter is that no amount of preparation could ever ready me for the journey ahead. No number of panic attacks over packing the correct attire. No extent of questions for Global Citizen Year Alums. No amount of hours spent in lecture halls internalizing experts’ words relevant to my year abroad. All I am surrounding by is darkness marked by the unknown .

Yet it is the same darkness I felt every time we were asked to simply meditate during Fall Training. Dropping my eyelids, I was able to focus on the strength that lies within each of my breaths. I am reminded this is the same breath that has sustained my every movement until this point, and will remain with me through every challenge and joy.

It is the same darkness that enveloped each fellow as we stood intertwined in a circle the evening before our departure. As we each grasped sections of yarn symbolizing our intentions for the journey ahead, we understood  we were connected not only by these the physical pieces we tied around our wrists, but by the pure solidarity rooted in the fact we are each other’s closest source of understanding and support.

It is the same darkness one is immersed in when diving beneath water. No matter how long you stand waiting to make the leap, you will never be able to anticipate just how deep you will be submerged. I, too, am standing on the precipice of the greatest dive of my life. All that’s left to do is just jump into the unknown.

Emily Ford