Oh Family!

Tasha Torres - Senegal


May 14, 2013

Time is running out faster than expected and I’ve been thinking a lot about the time that I’ve spent here. I don’t know much about my workplace (I keep track of the books but I don’t really know how much things cost or even the names of a lot of the items we sell), My language skill isn’t too great (I know enough but not as much as I hoped I would), I’ve embraced the culture and done some things I’d never even imagined id do, but out of all the things I’ve done and experienced nothing can compare gaining a family! I can’t say exactly when it happened. When I stopped being the foreigner and became their daughter, sister and niece but I’m grateful it did.

Upside to Being Part of the Family:

I get hugs! (all of the time)

I help make meals (and eat food while cooking)

I get hugs!

I get asked for help doing various things (homework, organizing my moms boutique, cracking peanuts)

I’m in on almost all of the family conversations!

I get hugs!

I get called jaja/Fatou by my almost 1 year old brother

My 2 little brothers run up to me whenever I’m on my way home screaming my name and jumping up to hug me

I get hugs!

My little brothers ask to sleep in my room with me

I get nicknames

We have inside jokes/sayings

I get hugs!

They know what food I like and don’t like and vice versa

I know when they are sad and happy and vice versa

I wake up on days when I’m sick to my mom and dad sitting on my bed checking my temperature with water and medicine in hand

When I’m scared of the newest creature that made its way into my room my dad comes in with a flashlight and moves everything around and checks under the bed to assure me that there are no monsters and it’s safe to sleep.

I get hugs!

My brothers grabbing my hands and taking with them whenever they go out

Stopping my little brother from eating dirt and him telling me Fatou achoo (stop) (in his cute tiny baby voice)

I get hugs!

Teasing, joking and playing all the time

Being defended by all of my family members young and old

Walking by my dad tell a person that I’m his daughter

I get hugs!

All the tiny awesome unexpected moments that makes it all worth it!

Being defended and protected by all of my family members

Being parented! – which entitles:

  • Clean your room
  • Don’t come home late
  • Where are you going?
  • Who are you going with?
  • When will you be back?
  • Wait until you finish eating to go out

Downside to Being Part of the Family:

Being a teenager – which entitles:

  • Clean your room
  • Don’t come home late
  • Where are you going?
  • Who are you going with?
  • When will you be back?
  • Wait until you finish eating to go out

Comparing my life here in Kedougou to my life in New York they are obviously nothing alike but if I had to choose one over the other I don’t think I could. Both sides are pretty amazing! One of the biggest differences though is at home although I have a parent I’ve never been treated like a child. If I wanted to do something I could do it and I knew I was responsible for myself but here I get parented a lot. There are a lot of restrictions on the things I can and cannot do. There are days where I complain that I’m 18 that I should have more freedom but my parents won’t hear another word of it. It’s quite nice to be honest. Coming to kedougou has given me a taste of something different parent, culture, language and cuisine wise and I’m not ready to give it up just yet!

Tasha Torres