Highs and Lows

Allison Douma


October 31, 2015

 Everyone says that during this year I will experience “my highest highs and my lowest lows” and I don’t really know yet if my highs are that high and my lows are that low, but I do know that I experience them on a daily basis. 

A lot of my highs are small, like my brother holding my hand or dancing with my sisters, but my highest high so far came this week when I thought I had lost my wallet. At first I was worried that someone had stollen it, but before I freaked out and called my team leader I went to tell my mom. She immediately called for my brother to help us come look. They were so worried. They helped me rip apart my room until I found it in a bag that I had forgotten about. After I found it they gave me a key to lock my room when I go to work. They were protecting me, making sure that my belongings were secure. I love how protected I feel here, it makes me feel loved. 

My lowest low so far has been the constant feeling of not knowing anything and feeling useless and almost stupid. Everything I do is wrong. I wear the wrong shoes. I put on my skirt wrong. I eat wrong. it feels like I can’t do anything right. I only know a little pulaar and I can never understand what anyone is saying and when I don’t understand they yell it a little louder so that I will understand. I can’t do anything right, or it seems that way. It’s frustrating. And sometimes I just want to scream.

This feeling of being useless was bringing me down. Hard. But I realized that it was wrong for me to be thinking that way. Instead of thinking “I am useless and wrong all the time” I have started to think about how to get better, how to “be right”. If I am wearing the wrong clothes I will go to the market with my sister and buy new clothes. I will work on my pulaar more and keep trying to get better at everything. I am here to integrate into their culture and I think I was kind of rejecting it at first. I am a strong believer in being myself and staying true to who I am and my family telling me the things that I wear and do all the time were wrong kind of hurt me. Now I see that I have to fully integrate become Rammatou Ba and when I get back home I can choose the parts of Rammatou Ba and the parts of Allie Douma that I like best and be a better me. 

It’s easier said than done, but I am trying and I know I will get there eventually. When I am stressed or a little upset about being wrong I like to look up at the beautiful Mako sky and think “this is where I am supposed to be”.


written on October 10th 

Allison Douma