Winter in Senegal

imageToday Wednesday December 5th marks my first month in Senegal. It is now winter and I’m very happy that it is not like New England winter. I don’t miss the snow or shoveling but I do miss drinking hot chocolate with marsh mellows and eating fresh baked sugar cookies, MMMMM.
Sometimes I can not believe that I’m on the other side of the world. Although I have only been here for a month, it feels like I have been here forever. The smells, language and the sheep walking down the street are not unfamiliar or strange anymore. On the first week that I got here I was invited to my first Senegalese celebration, a birthday party. I was given the role of video recording the kids dancing and later found myself dancing and playing tag with the kids on the roof top. Then I was called to eat a traditional Senegalese meal with people that I have never met before. Moments like these have been the most comforting. It is in these moments were I feel love and happiness. Everything is ok, I’m not in need of anything, I don’t feel lonely.
Im slowly learning French. I take the bus and taxi on my own and I know my way around the town that I live in. One of the things that I may not be able to change is  looking like a “tourist” or “American”. When people look at me they triple the prices. But I’am slowly becoming a master at bartering.Every Saturday I go to Scouts with my host brother and his friends.Scouts is amazing in Senegal! It is impressive how they build leadership, character, respect and responsibility within the boys and girls. Last week I did something that I never dreamed of, I joined a choir! It is so much fun! I can’t wait to post some of the songs that I have learned.
I had an interesting conversation with a Senegalese friend the other night. He was explaining to me all of the things that Senegal was lacking and how poor the country is. I told him that although Senegal lacks richness, paved roads and nice commercial buildings it is rich in so many other ways. The country is peaceful! Christians, Muslims and Catholics all live together in peace and harmony. No one worries about experiencing discrimination or any hatred because of their religion, the color of their skin or because of where they live. That is worth so much more than millions and billions of dollars.My world view has changed in so many ways. I see myself as a global citizen. Poverty, suffering, homelessness, corruption and injustice bothers me no matter where it is happening and to who its happening to. I believe that all of these issues affect us. It may be directly or even indirectly. We need to take care of all people, we are all made out of the same thing, we can’t forget that we are all human first.

One thought on “Winter in Senegal

  1. wow Iraimi this post is amazing! How wonderful to be in a place where there is so much Peace and I am sure most people would trade a few common luxuries to be in a place like you are. Knowing you, you’ll be getting lower prices really soon (you got it down in Chile.) I know how time can pass so slowly but it will creep on you before you know it. Love and miss you my dear friend!

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