PASSAGES FROM MY JOURNAL

Karina Lisboa Båsund


April 30, 2017

6th of September 2016    

               

We’re in Dakar having Wolof lessons. It’s nice temperature
today. It’s been too hot lately. Yesterday I had a headache. And I itch quite a
lot sometimes. But that’s not of my concern. There is something else bothering
me, but I can’t put my finger on it. I think I am mainly worried about
university applications and my physical health. I think I’m also worried about
feeling that the time I spend here is not doing me any better than if I’d gone to
university. I don’t know yet – I’ve been here for a week now, and I still feel
like I haven’t really found peace. I guess it will all just take some more
time, but I don’t like that.

14th of October 2016


It’s hot. Quiet. Birds singing. I feel like dozing off.
Eating beans.

12th of November 2016


So I chose to go to Africa, to Senegal. To spend 7 months of
heartbeats here. 2 months have been consumed. How am I now? Unsatisfied. Why?
Because I have not yet felt alive. My mind has been absent. I have danced, laughed,
eaten, read, written, played, learned, taught, smiled, slept, travelled, seen,
cried, swat, shivered, talked, listened, doubted, thought, walked, greeted,
stressed, feared, ached, cringed, waited, waited, waited… I am tired of
waiting. Of waiting to live. To feel. To come alive.

23rd of December 2016


There’s a lot of wind today. There was yesterday too. I have
only good things ahead of me. Tonight we’ll go to my little brother’s Kung Fu
show. Then I’ll try to cook for my family. Then tomorrow it’s Christmas eve. I
think it’s tomorrow I’ll hang out with Dora. We’ll go to the forest and sit in
the fields, listening to music and eating Quality Street chocolate to celebrate
Christmas. 27th I’ll go to her village to celebrate her
host-sister’s 20th birthday. I’ll wear a tailored dress they’ve made
for me. I’ll spend the night. The 28th we’ll go to Mbour together,
then I’ll travel alone to Dakar and I’ll leave for St. Louis the morning after.

12th of January 2016


Today there was a meeting for the English teachers around
and in the Sandiara area. Dora and I held a speech for the teachers, trying to
inspire and encourage them to become more motivational and “effective”
teachers. I gave a good speech according to many. They seemed to be paying a
lot of attention to what I was saying. But I don’t know how much of the
discussions stuck with them. I doubt the men validated our voices, us being two
white girls. At a certain point, debate was raised as a woman asked a very
thoughtful and valuable question. What is the point of being presented with
something that does not reflect reality, and be told that that’s the truth?
Some were rude to her, saying they didn’t understand the question, or that it
must have been poorly phrased. It really wasn’t. It was just some male teachers
that had this bias against her, that whatever he says is to be dismissed. It
was very interesting though. It felt like I was in one of those documentaries
in which an issue is attempted addressed, and absolute mayhem is caused as a
result of the people’s authentic passion for what they do and believe in. I
don’t think we got any further though. Why? Because the teachers are
comfortable with themselves and their jobs. But they have one legit concern;
making students pass their exams. Come to think of it, this is the duty I must
serve for my class. And I should take up my own advice and act upon it. I need
to come better prepared to class.

14th of January 2017


This night I puked twice.

16th of January 2017


In a car going from Tivaouane to Sandiara

It’s been an incredibly meaningful experience, these last 24
hrs. Or more. The whole vibe. I feel so complete. Like the world is mine. I’m
the protagonist of my life. I feel so safe knowing that. Like nothing can truly
hurt me or my self. It’s great.

18th of January 2017


I’m starting to see how the lives of all the people I’ve met
are part of myself. It’s a concept that is very interesting to me, and I’m
still trying to figure out what exactly it is that I mean and believe.

19th of January 2017


I looked at the stars tonight. The sky was clear so I could
see many. One star stood out. It was more yellow than the other white ones. I
stared at it for long and it seemed to shine brighter but then it suddenly
faded away, and it didn’t come back and I thought I had for the first time ever
witnessed a star die. But then it came back. And stayed. Maybe it was the
opposite. Maybe a star was born.

20th of January 2017


Jammeh, the dictator of the Gambia, was supposed to leave
his power days ago, but refuses because he’s scared of the consequences of his
actions. Meanwhile, Senegal is invading the Gambia and I’m in Sandiara waiting
for confirmation from my GCY teamleader that we’ll be able to go to Kedougou
for our next training seminar.

28th of January 2017


We’re in Kedogou, Dindefelo. The waterfall here is breath
taking, and the forest majestic. I’m in complete awe, and I want more of this
feeling. The thick, deep and mysterious roots spark this insatiable desire to
explore, discover more of what’s out there and what feelings and thoughts they
bring me.

30th of January 2017


I’m back in my homestay. Laying on my bed, that rock-hard
blue foam mattress with a bedsheet that hurts to lay on because of its circular
patterns. I hear mosquitos. Prayers. Roasting of peanuts. Girls talking,
laughing. Coughing. I feel calm and exhausted in a good way. This week was
definitely a good one. Eventful.

5th of January 2017


Today it blew a lot from the desert, I forgot to look for
omens and I did nothing but stare at my phone all day. I ate breakfast though.
A crunchy, white baguette shell with oily “peanut-chocolate-spread”. Note: they
added more oil to it to make it less dense.

7th of January 2017


Yesterday evening, my younger siblings and I went to the
school where students were playing “handball”. I joined in, it was cool, and my
feet are now full of blisters. My host-dad yelled at a teacher today. I don’t
know why. I’m now laying on my bed waiting for lunch to be served. That’s how
I’ll spend my afternoon; waiting for something to happen.

12th of February 2017


It’s so easy to get distracted, it’s scary. 50 days left. 50
days. I haven’t read those books I planned on reading. Haven’t written about my
life enough. Properly got over my past… But I still have 50 days left, I’ll
make the most of it, yes?

15th of February 2017


People
should look at the stars more.

And let
themselves feel the wind caressing their soul.

People
should be silent more.

Think.
Wonder.

Appreciate.

But
definitely look at the stars.

 

17th
of February 2017

 

I have
waited a lot this year, for many things, events, people. Food, apprenticeships,
friends, family. Closure. Overcoming. Happiness. Satisfaction, deep
satisfaction.

 

19th
of February 2017

 

Today was
misery. I felt depressed, very extremely bored. Wanted to cry but felt like I
didn’t have an idea why and therefore couldn’t. My back aches, I’ve been laying
on my hard foam mattress drenched in my own sweat this entire day.

 

7th
of March 2017

 

26 days
until I leave Sandiara – it’s so soon and I’m looking forward to it. I feel
very mentally exhausted as well as unhealthy physically. I’ve experienced so
incredibly much and have without doubt become a better person. More aware,
knowledgeable, understanding. Grateful, appreciative, thankful. I’m living such
a privileged life and I had no idea. Well I guess that’s already the definition
of privilege.

 

24th
of March 2017

 

Lately I’ve
been feeling so much like crying over even the smallest things. Is it maybe
because I’m leaving in 10 days? I’m wondering what impact my presence here had
on people, especially my host-siblings, and parents. Did they feel any
difference? Do they feel sad acknowledging my only temporary stay? Do they see
me for who I am, or are we too different to see through each other’s skin?
Maybe I’m nothing but a foreigner. A person who didn’t belong, and still
doesn’t belong in this place.

 

31st
of March 2017

 

So I’m
feeling weird about leaving. But I know I’m looking forward to it. It’s not
that I don’t like it here, because I really do. It’s just that I often feel
lonely, or rather, deprived of my freedoms, the ones I had back in Norway.

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Karina Lisboa Båsund