Too early for nostalgia

Kaya Hartley - Senegal


May 2, 2012

Last night I sat on my roof watching the clouds pass in front of the full moon, listening to the melodic chants come from the school across the street, and thinking about the short two days I have left of this experience that has become my life. I remember what my Team Leader, Oumou, had told us all when we arrived in Senegal. ” This experience will be whatever you make it to be, It’s completely up to you.” Despite my efforts in stopping it, this week has been one full of nostalgia. Sitting on the roof, it was almost as if I was watching myself over the past 7 months. I remembered the first month in Dakar, filled with good food and city life. And then the next two months, where my first language was charades and my constant state of awe overpowered the isolation and confusion of trying to understand such a completely different way of life. I remember travelling to Touba for the pilgrimage- literally being lifted off my feet because of the enormous crowds and seeing thousands of people sleeping on the sidewalks and streets.

And then December,  spending a make-shift Christmas at the beach with my fellow friends. Having built strong relationships with my family and my community and FINALLY being told that I speak wolof after months of being told I don’t understand anything. By then having my heart broken and as full as I have known. And then the next two months; full of seeing new places, befriending strangers, and feeling at home. Then came March, When I was transferred into a new village that welcomed me, was partnered up with an inspirational peacecorp volunteer and given a number of amazing work opportunities. And here I am in April, having a hard time saying goodbye to something I have spent so long adapting to, feeling nostalgic for a place and people that still surround me. And I’m not sure where the credit goes, I’m so grateful to my family, and my friends, and Global Citizen Year, and of course, Senegal and all of the wonderful people who fill it. But if I give credit according to what Oumou had told us… Then I must say, I did a pretty fantastic job. 🙂

Kaya Hartley