After writing down things I was grateful for this week, I realized that they fit well with the Senegalese proverb, “people are the remedy for other people,” and the words of Desmond Tutu, “I would not know how to be a human being at all, except I learned from other human beings. We are made for a delicate network of relationships, of interdependence. Not even the most powerful nation can be completely self-sufficient.”
– After a nap, Emily fanned me while I slowly and sweatily woke up in the Linguere heat. Now that’s a true friend!
– Got to participate in and watch Emily’s after-church English lesson. So fun. Lots of songs!
– Emily bought beignet supplies so that she and I could make beignets to eat and share with her neighbors after sundown during Ramadan. (100% enjoyed)
– Emily’s host aunt, Sowa, gave us cold bissap to drink while the family broke their fast. She also gave us a special early dinner.
– Nate showed me the laitery where he works. The milk is sooo good.
– Nate’s host family (The Tendeng family) invited Emily and me for lunch and talking. Later, Emily and I reflected on how all of our French has improved.
– The Tendengs’ dog Meadow followed Emily and me back to her house, like she was making sure we would get back safely.
– Emily showed me Miriam’s health office (with A.C.) and the medicines and forms and how the office helps and works with people around town. It was cool to see where Emily works and what she does most days.
– Emily’s host family (The Beye family) invited Nate and Erik for a special dinner and cold bissap.
– Sowa gave me a comfortable & fun dress before I left Linguere, I think because of Teranga, but maybe also because she could tell it was about my size.
– Loading our final taxi back to Fatick, Erik asked, “Want to take the front seat?” after a long day of travel.
– After dinner, Cécile whisked me into Marthe’s room, and gave me a math and grammar lesson that she had done at school that day.
– I lost my needle in teinture class. Gnilane (a classmate) stayed after class to search her bag for her extra needle to let me sew with after school. When I said, “I’ll give it to you tomorrow,” she said, “No, no problem.”
– Finnish missionary Anna-Lena prayed with me about climate change and let me cry in front of her and talk about feelings.
– Walking home, I exchanged some words with a guy that I see most days. Another man passed us, and said to him, “a Toubab who speaks Seereer, eh?” My friendly acquaintance responded, “Her name’s Mossane,” and then looked at me in the eyes. And it felt good and humanizing.
– Opened wifi to find supportive messages from friends and family. Encouraging me in general as I prepare to go into another transition time, and giving me the encouraging information they have heard about chances for fighting the human-induced parts of climate change. It reminded me that I have a good support system to come home to.
– Ate around the bowl with my host family, and like every day, they took pieces off the fish and vegetables and shared them, putting some in everyone’s portion. (side story: Once when I was sick, my host dad saw I was only eating the plain rice. He moved all the sauce off of my portion and into his, without speaking. And he doesn’t even like a lot of sauce!)
– Got an email from Heidi and Stephen (my sister and brother) that was so nice it made me cry.
– At the end of a week-long Sunday School teacher seminar, people were sitting and visiting in the Lutheran center courtyard, under the shade tree. They clapped when I came by so that I would dance for them. I danced. Then, they pulled out a chair for me to sit with them. When people would walk by, we started clapping so that they would dance. Then, we’d make loud acclamations. It is so fun making people dance.
– When I stepped into our complex’s courtyard after a day at the Lutheran center, little Pascal and Thior saw me and ran up to give me little 3-year-old-kid hugs and to do our secret handshakes.
– Simon and Joe (From University/Lutheran church in Dakar) came from Dakar to Fatick and stayed with my host family / Pierre for the night. They showed me some old pictures on Joe’s computer, and Simon and I talked about music together. (Simon is a musician)
– Before I went to sleep, I saw a prayer/text from Jessica (YAGM in Yeumbuel), wishing me a peaceful and love-filled sleep. It came at just the right time, because I had started to let anxious thoughts wedge into my head.
– Got a text from a random number. Apparently it is a new American peace corps volunteer who lives in Fatick! They got my number from someone that they met in a taxi. It will be interesting to meet them.
– There was a different and yummy kind of sweet potato in our ceebu jen at lunch. Bousso shared it generously around the bowl.
– Was invited to drink tea, snack and watch a movie in English with Anna-Lena and Erik.
– Not many came to choir practice this week, but we who did cleaned the sanctuary and bonded. It was peaceful.
– After dinner, Cécile encouraged me to dance with her, even though I was tired. We ended up having lots of fun and making up multiple choreographed dances to a song that came with my in-country phone.
– It was Pentecost Sunday, as well as confirmation of some adolescents in the church.
– Had party food at Mame Ndiaye’s (Maurice’s mom) house and then Mame Coumba’s (Théophane’s mom) house to celebrate the confirmations. We had moroccan couscous with raisins, chicken, pork, soda, cake; all the works.
– While walking home from Mame Coumba’s house, my neighborhood group warned me when a moped was coming my way.
– I got to have a quick call with my mom.
– At Mame Ndiaye’s house, someone asked me a question that I didn’t understand. To help me understand, Bousso rephrased the question in Seereer, instead of immediately translating it into French. That felt AWESOME.
– At Mame Coumba’s house, I was able to use my Seereer with a group of young women. We understood each other!
– After the parties, Cécile, baby Awa, Marthe (Awa’s mom) and I sat in Marthe’s room, talked, sang, and chilled out. I had a feeling of ‘Wow, I really feel comfortable around these people. I feel like I am with family’.