I’ve been keeping a list in my journal of some of the random good stuff that I have experienced here in Senegal. Each of these moments gave me an indescribable feeling, when I need it most. The list altogether serves as a reminder of my intentions this year and why I am here.
1 A casual conversation with my Dakar host dad that turned into him telling me his life story.
2 The wedding I attended in Dakar that went until 2 in the morning.
3 One of my first conversations with my friend Iba. He taught me a saying in Wolof — ko doul touki do kham fu feuk nekhé. Who does not travel will never know nice places.
4 Meeting Rokhaya’s family. Rokhaya is the front desk worker at a hotel I stayed at for a night. I was sick and she agreed to show us where to find a pharmacy. Long story short, I didnt’t end up getting any medicinethat night, but I did get to meet her entire family and had a lengthy conversation with her parents, who were in bed.
5 A run that turned into a walk after running up and over a hill behind my house to discover a setting sun, a beautiful field full of cows and a speckling of compounds. It was too much to take in while running, so I stopped and walked.
6 Eating freshly cooked french fries and beef straight from the fire at four in the morning at Magal in the religious city of Touba.
7 Going house-to-house with another CREPE worker to ask if all of the children were going to school.
8 Scaring my dad on Halloween. Resourcefully, I made a ghost costume out of the blanket I got on the flight over here. My poor, unsuspecting father was sitting on the roof on his phone. I snuck up next to him and said “BOO!”, when he looked up he jumped back in shock and said, “Ah! Nabou you have scared me!”
9 Watching a ninja movie in French on the roof, under blankets with two of my brothers.
10 Watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians in very poorly dubbed French with a family friend. He really doesn’t like Kim.
11 After watching me chase a baby goat around for a solid minute, a stranger helped me pick it up. I didn’t realize it had pooped on me until later.
12 A day I left CREPE earlier than usual, and the kids tried to block the door so I couldn’t go.
13 Showing my family a new dress set I had tailored here and they started clapping and telling me I was Senegalese now.
14 Seeing my aunt for the first time in two months and running to eachother and hugging.
15 A recent French lesson with Boubacar about street children.
16 On a particularly bad day, deciding to take a walk in my neighborhood and ending up sitting on a rock, watching ants and contemplating the connectivity of life.
17 The teacher at the high school who speaks only a little English and told me that I was his “husband.” This happened back in October, yet the rest of the teachers still give him a hard time for that one.
18 Every sunset — especially the ones where every time I look back, it seems to get better and better.
To be continued.