Pictures from Senegal

Sunday, January 23

You're Back!

Some things never change. But seeing as I was only gone a few weeks, I never expected them too. As a shout out to my fellow volunteers, here are some things that have happened to remind me about my African life. As if one could ever forget…
1.       You’ve greeted Steve, or whatever you call your roommate.
2.       People sit around talking about how much weight you’ve gained.
3.       You see a sheep tied to a tree and no one around it for meters.
4.       A child begs you for money and you tell them to go away.
5.       Someone has demanded (in a very accusatory voice) where their gift is.
6.       You’re hungry 2 hours after eating and realize it’s because you ate mostly rice.
7.       You look forward to a cold glass of water. 
8.       The ATM is out of money and the bank won’t let you into line because it’s less than an hour until closing time (and there are already 5 people waiting).
9.       There is no toilet paper in the bathroom. 
10.       You consider skipping going to another location solely because of the stress of the garage.
11.       Your possessions have mysteriously disappeared from the regional house.
12.       The DVD player is broken so you and your friends rig up the speakers to someone’s laptop because you know there’s no point is trying to fix/ replace the player.
13.       Someone points out the color of your skin, as if you didn’t already know it, as a form of greeting that they actually expect you respond to.
14.       The power goes out. Every day.
15.       You climb in and out of a mosquito net, or bed… whatever you want to call it.
16.       You set a meeting with someone and they aren’t actually there when they say they would be.
17.   Everything seems to be going at snail’s pace, but the drivers still honk when you don’t drive or move out of the way fast enough.
18.   You’re back to downloading your favorite TV shows instead of catching reruns on the actual TV.
19.   You go to the store for one egg, one potato, one onion, one green pepper, a few tomatoes, and a serving size packet of oil. Its’ called breakfast, and no, it’s not easier to buy in bulk.
20.   You wake up 5 am to the alarm you didn’t set- the mosque!
21.       People are calling you by some African name. Bonjour, Soda.
22.       The driver’s music is so loud you can’t hear yourself think.
23.       You change flip flops before taking a shower.
24.       You eat a Clementine and a cliff bar and call it lunch.
25.       You do laundry to pass time; not in your free time.
26.       Dinner’s served at 10:30pm.
27.       You have to re-teach yourself to fall asleep to opera of crickets versus the fan.
28.       You walk away from a conversation only 90% confident of what exactly was said.
29.       You have to reorganize your purse to once again include sunglasses, sun block, and mosquito repellent.
30.   You miss berries once more.
31.   You keep a mental note of how much protein you’ve consumed throughout the day.
32.   At some point the person you’re talking makes you feel like you’ve grown a 2nd head.
33.   Your new year’s resolution is to make it to next year with your sanity only mildly bruised.
34.   You walk large circles around sick children in order to avoid getting sick. Hopefully.
35.   Your second new year’s resolution is to do a better job of remembering to take your anti-malarial prophylaxis on time.
36.   Once again, you’re showering multiple times as day.
37.   You’ve consciously ordered the cheapest thing on the menu.
38.  You have to once again get over the lack of mass waste removal systems and accept merely throwing your trash on the ground.
39.   You’ve made a list of all the things you forgot to bring back from the 1st world.
40.  You look in the mirror, but are significantly less motivated to change what you see… because you couldn’t even if you wanted to. You just don’t have the supplies to look as great as you did "over there."  

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