To The Moon

Emily Collins - Senegal

February 26, 2013

In the 1950’s, a radio show came out to inspire Americans in a time of uncertainty. “This I Believe” has currently been reawakened, and even brought into the form of a book. People from all across the United States can write about all forms of love they have possessed in their lives. I was smart enough to bring this book with me to Senegal, and each day I take a moment to read just one chapter. It has inspired me to look each day for all forms of love, and encourages me to give the benefit of the doubt to tough situations. I believe in love. I believe love is what holds the world together, is what wakes each one of us up each morning. That the power of love can, without a doubt, overcome any source of evil, fright, or anxiety we as humans face. I believe that love is surrounding us every day with each little thing. Like each morning when I come out of my room, I know my breakfast will be on the table. Regardless of how much is going on, my Senegalese mother expresses ‘before I’m even really awake, I care enough to make sure you are set for your day ahead.’ Love is in Bandel’s smile or laugh when we are talking; when she tells me time and time again how I am a friend to her. Love is in my teachers eyes when she plays with her daughter each day. It is the pace of the culture here, slow because real time with family is essential. It is in the encouragement I give Bandel as she learns how to swim, in her voice when she calls for me to watch her successes. Love is in the other fellow’s hearts when they take time to message me and see how things are. When my Senegalese mom comes home with ripe bananas, knowing it brings me back a little piece of home. Love is in the priest when he asked me to go in front of the church and introduce myself because I am now a part of their community. It is in the congregation who now calls my name when I walk down the street wanting to get to know me better. When the boutique salesman smiles as I am coming into the shop. In his heart for no longer trying to rip me off because I’m a foreigner, testing my language skills and always ending with a laugh. Love is in each person who truly tries to get to know me, not just the foreigner. In my grandparents back in the states who read each book I suggest, connecting us in some way. It is in the light breeze I feel each afternoon, each time I get to experience the feeling of running into the ocean. It is within my tutor’s patience with my impatience to learn the languages. Love surrounds me everywhere when I look hard enough to see it. But what I have learned through my time here thus far is that it is not enough just to feel love, or to care about someone or something; but rather to show the love back. To express your appreciation and gratitude, to be selfless and fulfilled by the feeling.  You must give love in all the little ways as many times as you can, and soon enough the love you give will circle back around. That just caring is not enough, but showing your adoration is essential to care for yourself. All the little acts are love, this I believe.

Emily Collins