Quite a lot can happen in 6 months.
These are some of the major events that took place for me from September, 2019-March, 2020:
- I moved from Georgia to Senegal, West Africa 🇺🇲>🇸🇳
- I learned to speak Mandinka
- I swore in as a Peace Corps Volunteer
- I found a huge family of new friends
- I received technical training in agroforestry, and then taught these skills to others in my new language 🌳
- I transitioned between Thiés and Mbour, and then to my final site location, Mankono Ba, a village in Sedhíou, a region of the Casamance 🌊🐒
- I lived in a hut with no running water or electricity 🛖
- I received 2 Senegalese names;
- In Mbour I was Faatou Mata Siisee, and in Mankono Ba I was Diénéba Sonia
- A host family took me in – my dad was the village chief
- I adopted a puppy whose name was Taañoo 🐾
- On Christmas Day, I lost Taañoo to a sad sickness
- I created tree nurseries, compost piles, and mudstoves with my siblings
- Each day I walked to the Casamance River
- This includes tracking West Nile Monitor Lizards when the opportunity arose 🦎
- I chopped down baobab fruits, ate rice with my hands, found myself craving palm oil, and pulled water from a well
- I took baths with a bucket and a cup and slept under a mosquito net 🦟
- I was chased by kankerongs and children 🏃🏽♀️
- I fukajaayed cloths piled up the street and haggled prices with taxi drivers 🚖
- I hitched rides on every contraption imaginable
- I experienced extreme culture shock
- Senegalese culture is about as opposite to American culture as running is to sleeping
- I went through some of the hardest days of my life, and in the process became more independent, capable, resilient, and proud of myself then I ever was before ✨
And yet I’m pretty sure I’m missing some major points in that list.
It used to be hard for me to come up with an answer to the question “How was Senegal/How was living in Senegal?” – sometimes it still is. There was simply so much that happened every. single. day. How could I answer that question in simplicity? Where would I even start?
I'm starting to get better at it now, telling people about my bunkono (hut), my dimbaayaalu (family), my daily walks to the Casamance River, speaking Mandinka... But it's still missing so much detail.
I could elaborate endlessly on most of the topics listed above… So I would like some help from you guys (yes, You reading this!)!
What do you want to read/learn about? What interests you most from the list above? Reach out, let me know, leave a comment, send an email, whatever!
With love, light, and joy,
– LIZARD 🦎
p.s. my email is the same as my PayPal information 😉🤣
p.s.s. it’s nice to be able to share my story somewhere. Thank you for reading and taking interest in the events of my life. I appreciate you. 🙏🏼