Reflections Eternal

Annie Schwander


October 20, 2012

I’m living in a village named Sebikotane. Technically it is the outer, outer rim of Dakar, Senegal. But if it were up to me, I would place them in different galaxies. Although this village has 25,000 people and a paved main road, it is incredibly different than Dakar. Differences can be caused by many factors; geography, socio-economic standings, how developed one’s country is, age and experience, culture, and the list continues. It was the birthday of two good friends yesterday, and as I was connecting with them to say happy birthday it made me think about perspective. One of my friends turned 18 and she is a fellow in Senegal, about two villages away from me. So, she would not be seeing her family this year. Probably just giving them a ring to talk and explain her life and activities here as much as she could. Then she would go back to her village life. The other friend was turning 16 back in the US. Probably thinking about getting his license and the start of his sophomore year.

These two situations made me think about how different your connections can be. How you can have connections to so many kinds of people everywhere in the world. Because even though there are so many factors creating differences, people still find similarities, people listen to music, people eat delicious food together, and people always want to spend time with their loved ones. And even though some aspects of Senegal completely baffle me like: Why can’t I wear shorts above my knee in 100-degree weather? Why do households here have 3 maids when they worry about putting food on the table? How can I see a beautiful 5-story mansion right across from a crumbling, rotting house? Yes I am 18, but I don’t have a husband. Yes I am from America, but I don’t live in California or New York. How can the country as a whole live without air conditioning, and not even sweat one bead? These differences continue to utterly confuse me, but have become somewhat habitual. And even though there are so many differences between the US and Senegal, I have still managed to find so many great and talented people here that I now consider my loved ones. And I am thankful for all the opportunity I get to be able to create all sorts of different relations and connections to people in my life whether it be here in Senegal, back in the States, or somewhere that I can’t even imagine yet.

Annie Schwander