I’m constantly sweaty, but I wouldn’t change a thing

Elise Petersen - Senegal


September 16, 2016

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be? I feel this every time I sit on the living room floor, eating out of the communal bowl with Momma Fatso, Aziz and Daniel. I’ve been struggling to write my first blog post because I can’t seem to put Senegal into words. Whether it’s the empty skyscrapers that are either being built or crumbling; to the tailors on every corner, this country has more beauty in it than anything I’ve ever seen. 

Here they eat on the floor, with their hands. They have no toilet paper; they shower with cold water, usually from a bucket. Here they can’t drink the water. They have limited access to Wi-Fi, and frequent power outages. But here, you will be loved. You will be taken in and told “Lekk, Lekk!” (eat, eat!) by your mother, even though you’ve told her five times that you’re full. You will have conversations with stranger’s daily and marriage proposals weekly. You will pass at least three fruit stands anywhere you go, and more kids playing in the streets than you can count.

 Before I got here I didn’t know what to expect. I really hadn’t looked into the country I was going to be living in for 8 months…at all. My first thoughts were all along the lines of “I’m going to die, it’s so hot.”  Once I got over being constantly sweaty, I started seeing how incredibly different this piece of the world is.

 Every day I walk past people living under tarps held down by rocks, but holding an IPhone in their hand. Gated mansions next door to shacks that could hardly be called a home, because it’s ok for the poor to live next door to the rich. I walk through the streets covered in sand and potholes, and get honked at by the hundreds of taxis crowding the streets. I see women in long traditional dresses, their hair wrapped in cloth while they carry baskets of food on their head, just wondering how they keep their balance. I am so blessed to be in the land of Teranga, and for the next 7 months I get to call this my home. 

Elise Petersen