The Importance of Positivity

Andrea Snyder - Senegal


April 29, 2015

When I think about what I expected of Senegal, I’m confronted with a seemingly different picture; my reality. From the very beginning, signs pointed in the opposite direction, all in attempt to persuade me to flee. From my college counselor lecturing me on the difficulties of reapplication in a country with little to no Internet, to the news about the Ebola outbreak and having my entire family be at odds with my departure.

When I selected Senegal as my preferred country and dragged the certainty meter to 10/10 on the application, I imagined myself in a small town rural placement, where I would walk miles to fetch water and go to the nearby medical post for my apprenticeship. Due to the Ebola outbreak, extreme rural sites were removed along with the ability to participate in any medical apprenticeship. Even then, I told myself that Senegal was where I needed to be, and so I fought, against those closest to meand chose to come despite their advances.

To my dismay, I was placed in Joal-Fadiouth, one of the largest towns in Senegal with a rising population of 50,000. My hopes of learning Pulaar, the most widelyspoken language in all of West Africa, and everything there is to know about Islam were presented with a Christian Serer family. To say the least, I was disappointed, and I blamed myself for fighting to be in a country in which I now failed to recognize as one of my liking.

I spent a lot of time convincing myself of reasons it wouldn’t work and not enough time allowing myself to realize all the reasons it could and therefore, should. Finally, I decided to look at the good in what I had rather than the supposed bad”. I found the importance of positivity and looking at things from a different perspective. When something upset me

Andrea Snyder