Look at all those children

Anh Tu Lu - Senegal


January 17, 2017

Before coming to Senegal, I never liked being with kids. People have always told me that I’m good with them, but I still didn’t enjoy spending time around those evil little creatures. Going into my host family, however, I was faced with what I thought was my worst nightmare: 18 kids running around and screaming. Over time, though, as I got to know them, I realized that they have been the reason why I’m surviving in Senegal. Every day, they help me to learn Pulaar and Jaxanke/Malinke, play with me when I feel alone, and just be stupid together. Even though I actually do not know all of their names yet, they all have made my experience here better in one way or another.
Amongst the plethora of children, here are my favorites:
Name: Mohammed Diakhaby
Nickname: Alkaly
Relationship: Youngest brother
Age: I think he’s 6 months old??
Fun Facts: He actually hates me because he cried whenever they put him on my lap. I also never took a picture of him so I took this from my cousin’s Facebook. I love him.
Name: Karamba Diakhaby
Nickname: N/A
Relationship: Cousin
Age: ????
Fun Fact: His head is shaped like a triangle.
Name: Fode Diakhaby
Nickname: Papa <3
Relationship: Second cousin
Age: 2 and 2 days (he’s born on Christmas!!!)
Fun Facts: He follows me around all day. I’m not sure if he actually likes me or it’s because I give him a lot of snacks. Every morning he knocks on my door and grabs my hand to go on a little walk.
Name: Bubacar Diakhaby
Nickname: Bocar
Relationship: Cousin
Age: He once told me he’s 1 but his dad told me he’s 5
Fun Facts: He invites me to run around the house with him every night except our runs last for 1 minute because he gets tired easily. He also likes doing a lot of photoshoots.
Name: ???? Diakhaby
Nickname: Papinto
Relationship: Bocar’s brother
Age: ????
Fun Fact: He can’t do math.
Name: Fatoumata Diakhaby
Nickname: Fanta
Relationship: My younger sister
Age: 9
Fun Fact: She really likes taking pictures and filming stuff using my phone.
Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeup and outdoor
Name: Mousa Diakhaby
Nickname: Bamousa
Relationship: Karamba’s brother
Age: 3 and 2 months
Fun Facts: He’s my favorite kid in this house because he was the first kid that I made friends with!! It all started because he called me a scary Chinese guy and I chased him around the house as he violently cried.
Without these children in my house, I would not have had such an amazing adventure here so far. While most of my friends’ host families are smaller in size, I’ve enjoyed living in a large compound as I get to know so many more interesting people and learn so much more about myself and the world surrounding me for another 3 months. (Wow 5 months passed by already..)
Footnote: I apologize for the lack of blog posts lately! I’ve been busy with college applications and were not focus on writing detailed updates on my life here. In 2017, I’m hoping to put out a lot more blogs! I’ve posted statuses and pictures of my life in Kedougou on Facebook and Instagram, too but if you want instant life updates, contact me on Facebook!!! 🙂

Anh Tu Lu