Little birthday wish

Salome Valdivieso - Senegal


October 6, 2018

(View from my house 05/10/2018 evening)

A strong feeling of homesickness comes to my 19th birthday here in Senegal. Nostalgia fills me when I remember all my friends and family members in my 16th and last birthday in Ecuador. Nostalgia comes to my heart when I remember my last two birthdays; by the fjord, in a warm dayroom full of birthday songs in different languages, an improvised brownie mix cooked by people who I always carry close to my chest.

Tears come to my eyes when all these memories are brought back by a text or facebook message from people I love and care about.

But on this birthday, I also thought about the fact of me, being here in Senegal. And how lucky I am for being learning from incredible people in landscapes that words cannot describe. How lucky I am for being 19, and having decided to take a different path in my education.

In this mostly Muslim country, in which birthdays are not really a thing, my host mother asked her sister to sew me a Senegalese dress, and all my little host sisters filled me with hand-made bracelets and combed my hair for “this special day”. An even though I would have loved to go back to all the places I spent my last birthdays. I am happy about being here, and for making all new memories.

In my future birthdays, I will remember the most delicious Chev-bu-jén every cooked. I will remember the hot evening in a full bus, and a refreshing ice cream with people that slowly are becoming home.

I didn´t have a birthday cake to make a wish, but in this text, I wish me more birthdays that could be seen in the future with nostalgia.

I wish back all the good wishes from people all around the world that keep having a part of my heart.

I am grateful for this new year. And ndanke ndanke (step by step) I wish to start understanding and learning from now Senegalese home.

Love,

Salomé

Salome Valdivieso