The calm during the storm

Aissatou Tagaty Badio - Senegal

March 19, 2019

March 2019

I wanna go home.

It is 9:03 AM. I am sitting down in the middle of my room, looking at my screen. I just paused my music to listen to the birds’ singing. The melody is sereine, ecstatic and it gives me a sense of melancholy. It’s cold, no, it’s freezing, and I roll up a little bit more into my UWC sweater. My mom is outside, singing loudly to some Toucouleur chants while she’s washing her new baby’s clothes. I always loved mornings here – they are usually calm and peaceful, and it’s the only time in the day when I get to collect my thoughts, meditate, and quietly prepare for the day.

I wanna go home.

We always talk about the beginnings. About how we become so homesick a couple of days after arriving in our host community. We miss our home foods, desperately need familiar places, frequently look at past pictures to remember familiar faces. We end up not talking much to our host family, isolating ourselves in our room. We get sad. We get lonely. We cry. Then, one day we wake up and the sun is bright again. We go on with our day, fervently practicing our Wolof. We make new friends.

I wanna go home.

That homesickness did not hit me at the beginning, but it’s hitting me now. There are only two weeks left here, only a couple of slides left before the end of the ride. I should be living those moments at their fullest. I should go out and catch up with my local friends. I should talk to my mom about everything & nothing. I should work with my community through my apprenticeships to generate my positive, local impact. Yet, the truth is, I have become homesick and unmotivated. Everything around me upsets me. Cieb u jenn is not that good anymore. My mom forcing me to braid my hair is not funny anymore. That neighbour always begging me to take him with me is boring me.

I wanna go home.

And the worst is, I feel quite bad for feeling this way at this very peculiar moment. I know I will regret not trying to stay more positive and make the actual effort to enjoy my last days here. I know all that, but I tell myself that it is okay to feel this way. It is okay to feel pain and sorrow. I have to embrace it, but I shall not let it ruin me. I shall not let it ruin my relationships with people, my last memories with them. I know I am cascading down now, but I am well aware of the fact that I will eventually rise and shine. But just now, just for a brief moment, just let me be sad.

Damn, my mom really has a beautiful, soothing voice.

Aissatou Tagaty Badio