Life Update #1 (written October 2016)

Due to my lack of wifi and quite horrible communication skills, I figured that doing a ‘Life Update’ would be helpful to keep everyone up-to-date on what is happening in my life at the moment. 

I am currently at my home stay in the village of Thiadiaye. It’s located in the Petite Coute Region of Senegal, about 2 hours south of the capital of Dakar. Let me just begin by saying that I love it here. I would say that it’s not where I pictured living when I became a Global Citizen Year Fellow, but I truly don’t know what my expectations were (if I had any at all). All I know is that I’m quite confident that I am where I am meant to be. 

Now that I am living with a Senegalese family, I am no longer Dora Lee from Huntington Beach, California. My name is Aicha Dieye and I live in Thiadaye, Senegal (Maangi tudd Aicha Dieye. Thiadiaye laa dekk). My host family never refers to me as Dora anymore. This is most likely because it quickly became the name of one of our rabbits.

In the US, Dora Lee lives in a family of 4 with a dog named Coco. In Senegal, Aicha Dieye lives in a family of over 20 people with 8 sheep, 4 goats, 2 rabbits, and 2 chickens. My life has completely changed, but this change isn’t something I regret. 

I’ve started both of my apprenticeships at Lycée de Thiadiaye as well as the CPFP, the local agricultural center. I’ve been observing English classes and will later be helping to prepare lessons for the students. At CPFP, I have been working alongside my host father to prepare the crops by planting seeds and we will soon be clearing the land. 

Even though I couldn't be happier where I am right now, Senegal hasn’t just been watching pretty sunsets, learning Wolof, and making friends. There are times when I think about how much easier it would be to be back in the United States. Everything I experience is new and foreign, making it hard to find comfort in my day-to-day life. Yet as I’m getting in to the swing of things, I’m really feeling as though I am in my ‘bridge year’.