DINDEFELO NIGHTS

Mariana Ossa - Senegal


March 23, 2017

First thought in my mind when I think about Nights back home its late night Netflix watching and lying on my couch after a long day of school and work. In my homestay of Dindefelo nights are much distinct from what I’m used to in the U.S. As the sun starts to set in between the beautiful Dindefelo mountains, I instantly feel a change in vibe, to a very tranquil and relaxed atmosphere. Usually in the evenings I head to the escale center of the village where we go shopping for basic goods. I go run errands for my sister or spend late evenings hanging out with community members. A great place to build relationships and practice my pulaar skills. Nights here without electricity are so much intriguing. By the time I head back home i find my family rushing to finish their chores for the day before it gets dark. My sister welcomes the night by lighting the fire where we cook dinner, the kids play around the house and the boys rush to water the small family garden that’s behind my hut. I help my sister cook, by grinding the spices, cooking the rice, or cutting vegetables. “Nenan” my mom seating in the same spot every night, supervises that things are running smoothly around the house. She’s really good at assuring no one gets too close to the fire or she would do that particular scream that catches everyone’s attention. While we wait for dinner, we set our chairs by the fire and discuss about the day or random things. After dinner, I help my little brother with his homework and he helps me with my pulaar.

Spending nights outdoors with my host family has become one of my favorite things. Since it’s the time of the day that I feel most connected to them and the mother earth. How would something as simple as spending nights outside with my family have such a big impact in my year, I think to myself. But when I really dig in deeply I can see why, because we have no material distractions; we give all our attention to each other. This just builds our bond stronger, and I notice puts me in a good mood and state of mind. Aside in the States we’re just living in our 24hr technology packed lifestyle, which drains us and takes our time from those loved ones and even ourselves. I’ve grown a love to being outside, surrounded by nature and the sky at night.

The sky at night is incredibly beautiful. Full of bright; shining starts that never fail to amaze me. Laying outside staring at the stars while I meditate and reflect about my day has become a most every night. Nights outdoor with my host family have granted me the most treasurable memories of my year. Something that I really appreciate about my homestay and  try to enjoy while I’m present, knowing that when I go back I will only take those good memories with me and go back to my old life and routine, but back with a huge appreciation towards this taste of life that I have experienced here, nature, and the importance of sometimes putting technology on the side and enjoying all those little things that make you happy.

Mariana Ossa