Saturday, July 21, 2012
My time back in village has been one of mixed feelings, rather very emotional. Maybe it’s the malaria medications (joking Pops) but it’s seems to me that I have been way more in my head these days. The reason….I’ve finally decided that I will leave Senegal after my contract is over. What does leaving entail? Holy stink, it’s worse than when I had to pack up and sell all of my stuff, get my wisdom teeth pulled, and move back to Hawaii all in 3 weeks. True story ask my mom. Yet, at the same time the feelings I feel are mainly liberating because I believe I will be a better person in any society. Therefore, I am not afraid like I was about coming to Africa but rather nervous I will get lost in all the different possibilities that the world has to offer. There is farming, volunteering, teaching English, going to grad school, just pain working and then where to live, how long to stay, where to visit, how does rent work again? Utilities? What the hell are honeycombs? So much to think about but for me it isn’t so much frightening as just a little overwhelming because I want to give each opportunity a chance when in reality I probably can’t and therefore, have to make a decision. Who knew deciding what you liked or what you wanted to do or even eat are truly difficult decisions. So, as I try to control my excitement, I’m like a kid on Christmas Eve and I am not even planning on leaving for another 2 or 3 months, I need to finish up some projects that are in the works and do some things I’ve been saying I am going to do for a long time. As many of you know the Reading Room is being built. In fact, it has walls, a roof, and some cement. Hopefully, this Sunday the inside walls will get some concrete and I will be able to begin painting and decorating in order to liberate my mind from the constant thoughts of the outside world. I’m crossing my fingers because Ramadan also started today (Saturday) meaning people won’t be working as much. Another post will have to come once the Reading Room is done but for now I need to share a heart-warming moment for me. I’ve taken to writing down words and thoughts that I like or mean something as of recent. They serve as little reminders to do “good,” breath, relax, and understand that there are things much larger than not sharing my oatmeal and powdered milk with whatever cute little filthy child steps through my door. It came from a younger man who has a one year old boy a beautiful wife and as of recently has become the bread winner for his entire family due to his father’s death. Anyway, we began speaking about the weather and farming over some traditional Senegalese tea. It was typical banter. Then, the conversation turned a little serious and he asked me, “When do you go home?” Honestly, I answered in a few months and he asked, “Why?” Shit. Why am I going home? I answered as best I could, “There are more possibilities for increasing my education there, my family is there, my culture is there, and I want to see the world so that I can better understand people, farming, and our ways of life.” Usually I get the “oh! America is soooo great. Take me with you,” response but Hamadi simply gave me a Pulaar proverb. He said, “Ada memini Aduna e ada findini Aduna.” I couldn’t agree more. His words mean, “You are made to touch the world and you awaken the world.” That moment pretty much brought my Peace Corps experience full circle. I came here to learn, live, and begin to understand a new way of life and then, I came to take those new thoughts mixed with my original thoughts and share them with the people I meet along the way. I’ve never told Hamadi this so I guess I must have done something right with the past two years I’ve spent with him.