Observations from a sand box

Erin Lang - Senegal


December 13, 2010

…Okay, so maybe not an ACTUAL sand box, it’s more like my personal pile of sand, situated right in front of a cement house that was never completely built.  None the less, this sand mound is the only place where you will not be able to discover the town’s Toubaab, for it is where I come to get away from about everything.  This town is small, but as a teacher at an elementary school of eight hundred and a high school of three thousand, escaping even for thirty seconds is next to impossible.  Even when I leave my class door open for thirty seconds to run next door to grab a book, I am never suprised to find a goat munching on a book inside my library when I come back, or a student climbing on the counters or through the window left open as I stepped out.  And although I adore my friends and family here, it is only natural to need a few minutes a day to breathe without someone talking in my ear.  As I said before, this is extremely hard to find here.  So, in the minutes where the Toubaab Teacher is missing, you will probably find me hiding behind a little mountain of sand, where not even the goats can come to interrupt my thoughts.  I am writing this by hand in my hiding spot, finding it extremely comical and unique as a daily experience.

I see so much from this spot that I don’t get to see normally.  To my left I observe three young boys wrestling and playing under a giant tree, shaded by the sun.  To my right, I see a field that continues on for miles.  The wind is heavy and the air is crisp but light, as the December cool starts to take way in the town of Sebikotane.  It’s abnormally magical here, even the butterflies come in numbers bigger than I ever have seen before.  I think that’s what I love t he most about this place; everything is beautiful, even as I am sitting and observing from my own, personal sand box.

Erin Lang