Friday, May 30, 2008

Mango Worms, Sugar, Spoons, and Darkness

So we have been with our family for a little over a week now. We are all adjusting well, healthy, and getting to know our family. We have been in the clinic all this week, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and have met several new people as well as some old friends. We are, as of now, working to build upon relationships that were started last summer as well as starting new ones. We also started working at the same talibe* house as last year as well as working at an Arabic school run by a friend of some of our brothers and sisters who live here. They were all happy to have us back.

Now, you may be wondering about the title. We are still new to the village and are mostly just getting to know our way around again, and re-establish relationships, so I don't have any big news about our ministry yet, however, I do have some interesting stories.

For those of you who kept up with me last year, you have heard of mango worms, but for those who are new; mango flies are like giant, slow, green flies. They like to lay their eggs in the most comfortable and moist place they can find, which could be in a goat or dog, in the sand, but, I think, their favorite place is in wet clothes hung out on the line to dry. So, if one does not either iron their clothes or give them a few days after they are dry to sit around, the baby mango flies (worms) will find their way into an even more comfortable place, your skin. So, I've never gotten to see one of these before, but, luckily for us medical people, one of the other American girls living in our village got one and needed us to come take a look. She thought it was a spider bite, as did we until we squeezed it and got to see a cute little white grub come crawling out. If you know me well at all, you wont be surprised to hear that it made my day, and that we are looking forward to tomorrow, as she has another one that is just about ready to crawl away. :-)

Sugar. Just a testament to our lack of language skills and cultural knowledge; our family has begun to trust us and accept us as family members more, and asked us to do them a favor, gave us some money and wanted us to run to the store and buy them some sugar. Long story short, they wanted just a few cubes of sugar, and we misunderstood greatly and returned with a huge bag (2 kilos, to be exact) of sugar crystals, and had to send them back to the store to exchange it, as they laughed and told the story to everyone they met the whole way there.

So, some of our brothers and sisters who live here taught a few members of our family to play the card game "spoons". So, we thought it'd be a good ice breaker to play with them, little did we know that it would become a four night long tournament that ended in them diving across the room and tackling us to the ground to get the spoon at the end of the game! We thought we had the advantage, it being an American game, however, we greatly underestimated the intensity of Africans playing cards!

And the final, more of a request than a story, but darkness has been a common theme as we have been having our power go out just about every night, which makes for fun playing cards by candle light, but difficult showers and long nights in our small room with no fan to cool us and keep the mosquitoes off.

Thank you all for uplifting us! please continue to ask for open doors, continuing friendships, and opportunities to share who we know with our family, friends, and coworkers that we love so much.

*Talibe, for those who don't know, are young boys that live on the street, and learn scriptures in arabic, they have a "house" that is little more than concrete walls with dirt floors and no roof. They beg for food and money and are more often than not in very bad shape medically speaking.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Home...for a while


I am so happy to be writing you from my village!! As I said earlier, I am living with my same family from last year. It was so great to see the look on their faces when we walked through the gate for the first time. They tell me I've forgotten all my wolof (the language they speak here), but I think that I'm doing pretty well remembering.

There are many of the same faces around our compound as well as many new ones that we are excited to get to know. I have two new roommates, Khadija and Mariama (yes, the same name as me) in Senegalese) They are doing great picking up language and culture and I can tell that everyone is going to think that they are tons of fun once they get a little more language under their belt.

Family dynamics seem a little different this year in that we seem to spend more time together and the 'mom' figure in our house, has allowed us to jump right into her routine with her and we seem to be an instant part of the family again (a bit different than last year when we had to convince them that we actually wanted to spend time with them and learn about them)

We have only been with our family for two days now (we had several days of orientation first) so, not a whole lot has happened, but we have some exciting 'plans' on the horizon! Please be lifting up:
1. for relationships with our family as they continue to grow and that our Father would direct them towards Himself.
2. for my roommates and all the other volunteers around Senegal as they continue to adjust to a very different culture.
3. for our relationships as I return to work at the clinic next week.
4. for new relationships at a new Talibe (street boys) house we will start at next week. Their teacher is friends with some of our brothers and sisters here and has been having dreams about our Father. pray that we would be able to show His love.
5. for health, as issues never seem to be far away in Africa.

Thank you for your support!! Please continue to check back for more!!!

Just for fun; VERY African things I'd almost forgotten about:
1. marriage proposals lurking around every corner
2. little kids looking under my skirt to see if I'm actually white all the way down to my feet
3. walking over bits of goat because its the only way to get through the burning field of trash without catching on fire
4. falling down. I don't know what it is about the sand here, but every now and then I find myself not only falling, but finding myself, seemingly out of the blue, sprawled on the ground with no idea what I've tripped over.
5. the hording of change. people here are so reluctant to give away their small change I had to go to 7 boutiques to buy a can of coke!!
6. false advertisement. Id forgotten that when the picture on the box of cookies shows a chocolate cookie with cream in the middle, I am just silly in expecting an Oreo and should just enjoy my vanilla waffer :-)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I made it to senegal; though my time is short. I will update more later but wanted to let yall know that i will be living with my same family from last year; so please be speaking for our renewing relationship as my new roommates and i move in tomorrow

Saturday, May 10, 2008


So, I am returning to Senegal, West Africa. For any of you who may be new to this story, here's a quick recap:

As I reflect upon last year; getting on a plane all alone, heading to a seemingly random African Country, knowing little about what I would do, where I would live, or who I would meet, I have no explanation as to how I mustered up the courage to do it or how I convinced my parents to allow it other than His hand. I travel with a company that puts together a team of college students from all around the country to live amongst the Lebou of Senegal, West Africa. Our primary goal, as I perceive it, is to build relationships in which we can show His love. As a secondary purpose, we all have a job of our own, either ESL (teaching English), fishing, sports, scuba diving, or medical (that one's me). We live in traditional homes with Senegalese families. We eat with them, work with them, play with them, talk with them, basically get the complete cultural experience.

After last summer, despite extreme sadness, I thought I would never return. God obviously had different plans. On May 17, I am returning. I don't know for sure if I will live with my same family from last year, or somewhere else. This year, a good friend of mine is coming with me, teaching ESL (check out B's blog at We will be there a little over 2 months (Returning July 19).

Basically this blog is to keep everyone updated on what I am doing and, more importantly, how you can speak for us while we are there. If I have the same access I did last year, you can expect posts about once a week (usually around the same time each week), possibly more every now and then, and hopefully with pictures this time, so check back!

As I prepare to leave next week, some requests are:
1. For Him to provide a clear mind and peaceful heart to all those preparing to leave for Senegal within the next week (there are 23 of us all together)
2. For safe travel, as summer Ms begin leaving tomorrow through next Monday
3. For the relationships built last summer, that the 4 of us that are returning would be ready to grow and continue those friendships.
4. For the Ms in Senegal as they put together all their last minute preparations for us (and in Africa, most preparations must be done last minute!)
5. For the Lebou of Senegal, that their hearts, ears, and eyes would be open this summer to see the truth through our actions, hear Him in His still quiet voice, and feel Him calling in their hearts.

Here are some pics from my experience last year so you can have some faces to pray for, and some ideas of what I'm doing.

For those of you who may not know where Senegal is
(I didn't before I went!)

Working in the clinic in my village

Some of the ladies from my family (and baby sister)

Doing small medical clinics with the talibe
(these are "students". basically little boys who are given to the meeting here at a young age to be taught the scriptures. However they end up sleeping in the dirt, begging for food and money on the streets)

Some of the Kids from my family