Ablaye and Daba

Ablaye and Daba

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I have officially moved out of my village. Last Friday morning, I packed up my stuff and hit the road. It was a very sad day. Basically all of the goodbyes started Thursday. I spent the day hanging out with my family and also with Janaba, my counterpart. I didnt really make a big deal about it being my last full day in the village. I HATE goodbyes and just wanted to enjoy my last day there while i could. I spent the mor ning giving away my clothes, dishes, furniture, etc. People were very excited to get nice gifts!! I then went to Janaba's house around 10 to hang out and have breakfast with her. I bought some bread and some milk and headed over to the other side of the village. Wehn i got there, Janaba saw what i had brought her and was like "Ummm...NO... Im cooking you a real breakfast!" I sat there and cooked with her one last time. It was great. She cooked eggs and potatoes (thats a HUGE breakfast here...people usually eat bread or millet). We sat there and ate breakfast together and just enjoyed each others company. I know i have said it so many times, but i love janaba. She is truely an amazing woman. Her door is always open and she has really accepted me as a friend and a daughter. I cant thank her enough for how welcom and comfortable she has made me feel the last two years.
I went on to spend the rest of the day hanging out with the kids and trying to soak it all up. My last day with little Ablaye Ngom was sad too. i had a really hard time saying goodbye to him and the other children. I was overwhelmed with thoughts of what is to come for the kids that i have come to love as my own. The mothers in my family have lost countless children to illness and disease throughout their lives. Binta lost her entire family including her husband. She only has one son left from her first marriage. The other all died of illness. Its a sad fact that there is a good chance that when i return to Senegal someday, atleast one of those kids may not be there.
The rest of my last day in the village was spent hangning out in the salon and visiting random houses to tell people goodbye. I didnt visit many people though because again, I HATE GOODBYES. A volunteer living nearby came to stay over my last night in Diagle. He has great relationships in my village as well and wanted to see everyone before i leave. Janaba called me and said she had cooked us another fancy meal and wanted us to head over. I ended up spending the entire evening at her house hanging out and eating wayy too much. I came home around 10:30 and my family had already gone to bed. Which is very unusal. They always stay up until midnight or later. I think they were not happy with me spending my last night there with Janaba so they were trying to let me know without having to tell me. I felt really bad at first. After long reflection, i am so glad i spent my last night with janaba. She has always been there for me and i think she and I will appreciate that last little time together much more than my family would have.
Anyway, David and I came home and wet to bed. I woke up about an hour later so thirsty so i got up and chugged some water and went back to my bed outside. Thats when things turned sour. About fifteen minutes later, my stomach started making crazy noises. I spent the next 6 hours sicker than i have ever been in my whole life. I couldnt even sit still because my stomach was twisting and turning. I had things coming out all ends and it was not pretty. David was sleeping inside so i literally crawled in to ask him to get me some water. I had vomitted everything out of my system and was evern thirstier than before. Since I only had water from the same bucket that i had just drank out of, poor david had to bike around the village knocking door to door asking anyone if they had faucet water. I drank bleached water from the well. I had gotten rid of my water filter a few days before since i was leaving. I didnt sleep another wink that night and ended up packing up and leaving about 7 am friday morning. I spent the entire day friday feeling extremely hungover since i was so dehydrated. The village kicked me outta there to say the least.
I have spent the last few days here in Dakar getting stuff ready for me to leave. There is so much paperwork, legal stuff, and medical exams that have to be completed before i can head out. I signed up to get a flight out sometime next Thursday or Friday. Of course, the PC office didnt follow up with me yet so i still have no idea whats going on with that.
Im heading down to Kaffrine today with Ablaye. I want to see his family one more time before i leave. Also, we are getting married tomorrow. CRAZY! Anyway, ill write more about all of that after it happens because i kind of dont know what to expect.
I hope everyone at home is doing well. Ill be back in about a week!! :):)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"It was he best of times, It was the wrost of times..."

With less than a month left here in Senegal, I have found myself torn about my real feelings about leaving. I mean, yes!, i am very excited to get home and enjoy the luxuries i once took for granted. I am also sad that i will be saying goodbye to some very dear friends possibly forever. Most of my friends here in Senegal do not know how to use a computer and some of them do not even know how to read or write... which means the only way to keep in touch with them is through the telephone. Thats a scary thing because phones are lost, stolen, or do not have credit on them alllllll of the time. Phones here are all prepaid. If someone loses their phone, they generally have to get a new phone number. Which will pobably mean goodbye to long lost friends abroad!

I have thought a lot about me leaving Senegal and what that is going to mean. There are many, many things i will certainly not miss about this country. I will definately not miss being called "toubab" all the time and i will also not miss people asking me for stuff. But there are countless things that i will miss forever.

I will miss the mountains of endless fresh air. The beauty of the clouds and the sky and the sunsets. I will miss the smell of the first rain of the year. The rare silence in the village when no one is talking and you can only hear the trees blowing in the wind. I will miss that 60 seconds in the evening when the sky turns hot pink just as the sun is setting. I will miss Amie Colde', Maymouna, and the Ngom family. I will miss Janaba Sarr, my one TRUE FRIEND in all of this. Without her, my Peace Corps service would not have been what it was. I will miss the kids, the kids, THE KIDS. Without the little Ngom children, i would not still be here today. They accepted me into their lives, were patient with me when my language skills weren't there, and have NEEDED me in a way that no one has ever needed me before. I cannnot thank them enough for just being kids and making me laugh, cry, and grow a heart bigger than i knew possible. I will especially miss Ablaye Ngom. He will forever be my little man and precious friend. Someday, i will come back for him and do everything in my power to give him the life he deserves. I will miss reading countless books and having extra time for reflection and thought. I will miss the kaolack market, where hidden treasures can be found around any corner. I will miss speaking sereer everyday and learning, learning, learning. I will miss eating the food that is grown in the family garden, cooking classes with Janaba, and swimming in the Mangroves. I will miss the sandstorms, thunderstorms, lightning, and the floods. I will miss travelling to unknown places and seeing new things that i could have never imagined before. I will miss that long stretch of dirt road where i ran hundreds of miles during the evening hours and found solitude when i needed it most. Most of all, I will miss the simplicity of life here in Senegal. This simplicity cannot be found even in the smallest towns in America and can never be fully described or comprehended by others that have not experienced it themselves. I am greatful for the opportunity to have come here and learned so much. It has been more than i could have asked for.

My time left here in Senegal is limited. I am just spending my last few weeks here soaking it all in and having a blast!