Christmas: The Life of a Villageois

For Christmas this year, I said goodbye.

Wow, goodbye. I said goodbye. I said goodbye to a lifetime of laughter, memories, and adventures. I trailed my feet through the familiar dusty paths, even dragging them a little. Ending a chapter in my life. Breathing. Drawing deep breaths of air, mentally preparing myself for the beginning of another, new chapter: College, in America.

At nine and a half, nearly ten, I understood that my family and I had moved to a country where it didn't snow. But, that was okay. I discovered that the land of Senegal had a close second: mud. Dark, wet, oozing mud. The clammy kind that you can mold into any shape you can think of. At nine and a half, nearly ten, I sat in the shade of a big tree in my Mama Jeanette's village. Can you guess what I was doing? Yes, yes, yes. I was sitting in the mud, to be precise. My pink and purple popsicle dress was almost brown, my cheeks were smudged. Shoulder length hair, an absolute mess. But I was young, happy, building a mud-man. For once, Mom was okay with my dress getting dirty. I was doing what I did best, talking. Rattling their ears off with my Parisian French, I'm sure of it. But it built relationships, ones still in existence now.

This Christmas, we spent a few days with our house helper and her family. Toll-House cookies, Uno, and a movie on the big screen. Yassa, coffee, and waking up all chilly. Laughter, mosquito bites, memories. Whenever we go out there, there's always some small challenge to overcome. But this time around, I think the only challenge I ran into was my sides hurting from laughing too hard. It may have taken more than one trip out to Fandene, Thies, for me to figure it out, but I think I finally did this trip.

Live in the moment. Be here. Be now. So yes, I had to say goodbye to a sweet family that I've always loved being with... but I'm here. I'm now. I am determined to let the things I learned this Christmas travel with me.

I don't know what lies ahead. I don't know what my life will look like when I leave my home in Dakar. But I am fervently trusting in God to guide my steps, and to provide for me along the way.

As we start off a new year, I encourage you to live in the moment. Make those memories.

May 2020 be a year of peace, and great joy for you and yours!