If I had to choose one word to describe my first 7 weeks in Senegal, that word would be “itchy.” Besides the obvious mosquito bites, heat rash, and mysterious red bumps that cause me to scratch, there is an itch that my dirt-encrusted fingernails cannot reach. Deep within me, my experiences so far in Senegal have begun to make me itch for more. To see more. To know more. To do more.
I itch to see more when I go on walks through neighboring villages, I am left itching to go further and deeper through them. I itch to see more when I get lost in the city and am forced to rely on my intuition and the kindness of strangers to point me back to familiar areas. I itch to see as much as possible, because if I am going to be in Senegal for 7 months, then I want to see Senegal- not just my village and a few tourist areas. I itch to see past Senegal and into myself, others, and how everything here relates to everything back “home.”
I itch to know more when everyone I think about how everyone in the village has experienced the village in a different way. I itch to know more when anyone tries to explain the family tree, or who the neighbors are. I itch to know more when everything is in Wolof, and I wish to share a complex conversation with someone. I itch to know more about the people who make Senegal what Senegal is.
I itch to do more when I realize that I do really enjoy working in a garden. With my fingers in the dirt, sweat rolling down my cheeks, a whole green life in my hands, I feel like I am doing something real. I itch to do more when I help my sister pick beans. I itch to do more when I learn to make attaya for the first time. I itch to do more when I invite myself to help my mom shuck beans. Whenever I do things, I have a new realization for my capacity for action, and it only makes me itch to do more.