Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I got back to the states on Saturday night. I want to thank everyone for the speaking and support that have been so graciously poured on me over the past two and a half months. They meant and mean the world to me.

Though the trip is over, it's far from the end. Coming back to the wealthiest country in the world after living an "average" life in a third world country for two months is a bit of a shocker at first. At first, you feel out of place and slightly angry, but, having done this once before last summer, I have come to feel blessed more than anything. Blessed to have been allowed a glimpse at what He is doing in West Africa, blessed to have meet some amazing Ms, both career, short term, and summer, but even more blessed because of the people I have meet and the world to which I've been introduced. We've been introduced.

I've been realizing more and more that the world that I love so much, that I've been living in, that we've been sharing through this blog even, does not exist to so many people. Before being assinged to work in Senegal, I had no idea where it was, much less what it was like. I've been blessed with a glimpse into a world that changed my life, and blessed to look upon faces of those who need our Father in a way that is so different, yet so basically the same as everyone in the country I'm familiar with.

So here's a look at a few faces that have changed my life. A few faces that no one else speaks for. That no one else knows names for. That no one else knows exists out side of their tiny village on the coast of an unknown country in West Africa.

This is my African Momma. She is a beautiful woman. She has a daughter who is almost two, and she longs for more. She loves to laugh and dance. She sings while she cooks and hates potatoes. She loves spicy foods and okra. She feels hopeless. She realizes that she does the same thing everyday, cooking, cleaning, breaking up fights between the many kids in the compound, she wants hope. She has heard about my hope, but is still trapped in the false beliefs that entrap the world around her.

This is Absa, but she likes to be called N'day. She is single and works as a nurse at the clinic in my village. She is crazy! She loves to dance to the most modern music from America. She is good with kids and is asked to come in the room when a child is afraid to have their blood drawn. Her favorite distraction to present them this summer was "just look at the white girls, listen, they'll talk to you!". She is worried that she may never get married. She has a boyfriend, but he already has a wife, she would be the second.* Her father is a very devout man and a prominent man in the village. Her family is well known for that.

This is Ndeye. She's 15 years old. She adores me and my roommate. She is African Momma's niece and lives in a different village, but spent most of the summer convincing her mother to let her come stay at our house so that she could see us. She loved the skirt we gave her and had it on almost immediately. She's been having trouble with her hair growing and is very self conscious about not having any and covers her head because of that, not her beliefs. We told her that women in America where their hair very short like her, and that it makes them look smart and sophisticated. She took her head wrap off by the end of her visit.

This is "D". He's a Leader in or village. He has had dreams of Him. One day, after weeks of working with him, he told us about his dream. We had nothing to say but "that is great. that is true". He has an Arabic school that he teaches at. We came twice a week to take care of their medical needs, which were mostly cuts, burns, and fungal infections. That took about an hour, then he liked to sit and talk with us for another. He has a wife and 6 kids. He spends a lot of time in speaking, asking the one he believes in to show him the truth. Ask that he finds it. Someday...

This is Monumbe. He is 12 years old. He is learning french at a nearby school. He appreciates that his family pays a lot for it, but really doesn't like school very much. He wants to be a mechanic like his uncle. He loves to jump rope and sheepishly asked if I had brought a new one for him because the one I gave him last year broke. I had. He loves the card game, spoons, we taught him. We left a deck of our cards there for him. He used to love listening to stories on the cassettes we had. He has one older brother, 3 younger, and 1 younger sister. He takes care of them. He's the only one that can make his 2 year old cousin stop crying.

Please don't forget these faces. Even if you speak for them once after you read this post, that's more than anyone else does. Coming home from the field sometimes makes people feel that they don't know their purpose anymore. Even if all my other purposes in this country fade away, I know that telling others about this unknown world is enough.

Work in Senegal is long and shows very slow progress. But should we give up? never. Progress this summer was telling them there is another way. Loving bratty kids. Sitting and drinking tea. Visiting our friends when they are sick. Telling people why I came back. Loving my family. Explaining why we don't dress like the Americans they see on TV. Why were are learning their language, not French. Showing a leader what followers look like. Putting band aids on kids. Learning to thank Him for meals in Wolof.** And slowly, ever so slowly, showing them Him who loves them right where they are.

*In Senegal, they allow a man up to 4 wives.

**Wolof is the native language of Senegal, though they national language is technically French, the Lebou all speak wolof.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Twelve days of Senegal

Sung, of course, to the tune of the twelve days of Christmas...

On my first day in Senegal the Lebou gave to me
A big bowl of red cheeb jen*
On my second day in Senegal the Lebou gave to me
Two fields of trash
On my third day in Senegal the Lebou gave to me
Three proposed marriages
On my fourth day in Senegal the Lebou gave to me
Four days without water
On my fith day in Senegal the Lebou gave to me
Five calls to speaking
On my sixth day in Senegal the Lebou gave to me
Six in one taxi
On my seventh day in Senegal the Lebou gave to me
Seven hot fatayas**
On my eighth day in Senegal the Lebou gave to me
Eight power outages
On my nineth day in Senegal the Lebou gave to me
Nine screaming children
On my tenth day in Senegal the Lebou gave to me
Ten roaches crawling
On my eleventh day in Senegal the Lebou gave to me
Eleven goats a bleeting
On my twelfth day in Senegal the Lebou gave to me
Twelve mosquito bites ***

*Cheeb jen is my favorite senegalses dish, rice cooked with a tomato paste sause with delisiously flavored veggies and fish in the middle, eaten, of course, with your hands from a common bowl.
**fatayas are like fried dough with seasoned fish in the middle...so good...

*** This, of course, is all said out of absolute love for the country, the people, and what I do hear, but always still appreciating the little things that make Africa, Africa!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Call

Hear the call
The knees drop down
The shouts cry out
No hope to be found
It makes everything
Okay to go on
Makes every word
A part of the song

One little girl
Told who she should be
She's growing up blind
Just trying to see
The words pierce deep
In the midst of night
She just wants one
who can hold her tight

Just one more step
maybe one more word
give a little more
maybe i'll get there
And they're crying out
but the pain inside
sticks to their souls
just trying to hide

Each day the same
as he walks the street
a can in hand
prays for something to eat
Learning empty words
an honor they say
but the blows come down
if he cant pay

A shining light
walking down the street
will it pass by
or maybe stop to greet
The wall stands tall
can they see around
with the light to guide
can the wall come down?

Just one more step
maybe one more word
give a little more
maybe i'll get there
And they're crying out
but the pain inside
sticks to their souls
just trying to hide

Not one more step
One different word
He gave it all
For them to get there

We said goodbye to our roommate this weekend. It will now be me and Khadija finishing up our last two weeks.

This last week has been so busy, giving goodbye gifts and saying goodbyes with Mariama M, visiting tons of friends, even went to a wedding (the nephew of our Leader friend who was marrying an American!! He was super honored that we came, don't worry, my roommate has an embarrassing video of me trying to dance Senegalese style in my African outfit at the wedding)

We solved some of the issues we had been having with the talibe, but it is still hard for us, so please continue to speak. We have just under two weeks left with our families, so speak for endurance, open doors, and opportunities to share with them. It breaks my heart to know I will again have to leave the family I love with no assurance of ever seeing their faces again, but we cling to the fact that, though we see few steps of progress now, we are catching only a glimpse of what He is doing. We continue to hold on to faith that, if we follow and obey, it will be for His glory in the end, no mater how trivial our work may seem now. Thank you for your speaking!! Yalla Baax na (He is good)

don't even worry, this lizard is about the size of my forearm, and they do run accross your feet, just like the little ones at home

Me and Khady, showing off the henna we got on our arms this week (she has a flower and I have Africa)

And me and Khadija before we devoured our entire baguette for breakfast one morning.