Friday, March 22, 2013

that thing called hot season..

Life is moving at quite the rapid pace in these parts. By that, I mean we are moving at high speed..right into hot season. 

When I arrived in West Africa in October, it was in the middle of the "mini" hot season. I didn't know exactly what "mini" meant, but I did know that 2 showers a day didn't suffice. (gross? sorry) However, I survived and am now gearing up for the REAL hot season. Every time I go visit a friend, her mother always asks if I think it's hot. When I tell her yes, she just looks at me and says, "April's coming.." I can't lie-I'm a little intimidated by that phrase.

Some of you may ask, "Well, how hot is hot season?" I think the best way to answer this is to show you. I bought these chocolate chips at the grocery store the other day, and when I got home I realized they had morphed into a chocolate chunk. (Granted, I live 3 hours away from said grocery store, but still..) They also melted in my hand as I was trying to salvage the few "chips" I could get to.


 However, this time of year has a few perks that look a lot like this..

Any season where we can go to the beach with a few friends is a good season to me. It's a bonus if we only have to drive 5 minutes to get to the beach. Which is how it goes when you live on the Western coast of Africa. 

They actually harvest salt in the waterways that surround our town. I didn't even know salt harvesting was a thing, but then again, I've never given a huge amount of my time to thinking about salt. However, because of this, we didn't even have to exert energy swimming. We were able to just lay in the water and float. Who needs facials or pedicures when you have sand and salty water? Exfoliation at it's finest, folks.This trip was also preceded by lunch at a friends house. So, local food plus a swimming day? And they said that hot season was bad.. 

If the days continue to look like this, I think I'm ready for it.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


For those of y'all that didn't catch it, a few weeks ago I turned the good old 2-4. Almost a quarter of a century, people. However, it was such a sweet day that I'm not even going to freak out at the fact that I'm WAY close to 25 now. Also, 24 is turning out to be way better than 23 for the simple fact that "vingt à quatre" is a whole lot easier to say than "vingt-trois." (sidenote: just googled the translation to those numbers. So, if they are spelled wrong it's not my fault. I'm learning an Africa dialect here..we just happen to use the French numbers.)

My morning started out with a text from my supervisor saying that we had fresh (killed that day) mutton to go in the dish that I had requested for lunch. The dish is called "Touffe," and y'all, it was AMAZING. My sweet friend cooked it, and I loved every second of lunch that day. However, I usually don't eat mutton on my birthday, but it may have to become a tradition...especially if my friend teaches me to cook it like this.

Later that night we had a few friends over for some cake and popcorn.

This picture is probably one of my favorite pictures. I love this picture because it shows friends. 
This picture shows my sisters. 
I have a local name here, and a couple of the girls gave me their family name for it.

This picture shows my younger brothers.
 A couple of the guys in this picture call me their "maq bu jigeen" or older sister.

 This picture shows inside jokes, laughs, people who are such a huge part of my life now.

Living away from home, I think holidays and birthdays have a tendency of being a little harder. On the other hand, though, I so enjoy these days because they truly show me how I've come to see the people I'm surrounded by on a daily basis as my family. 

Around the beginning of the year I was reading in Ecclesiastes 3. As I was reading, I started to think about which season of life I was living. After a while of thinking, the Father showed me that I was in "a time to gather stones." At that time it was hard for me to see past my friendships that I still had in the States. It was hard for me to see how I could relate to the people here on the same level that I can with my friends back in America. The Father gently showed me that I needed to focus a lot of my attention on the relationships being made here instead of consistently longing for the next Skype call or seeing what I was "missing" by being over here. I have trouble typing this because I don't want it to seem as if I don't miss friends back home. Because I do. I love the Skype calls. I look forward to getting the e-mails. The support that I've been given has blown me away, and I am so thankful for that. However, I needed to find a to bring these two very different parts of myself together so that I could be effective in showing True Love to the people I come in contact with. I say all of this to show you a little glimpse of why this picture means so much to me. I can say now, although I still miss the people at home, the Father has given me opportunity to "gather stones." To build friendships here that are real. We talk about clothes. We talk basketball. We bounce ideas off of each other. We are friends, and I'm so thankful for that.

I also thank you. Instead of losing friendships, I am gaining them. Thank you for being understanding when the electricity goes out and I miss that Skype time. Thank you for not getting angry when I wake you up in the middle of the night with a text because I forget that you're 6 hours behind me. Thank you for the love that you continually pour out on my behalf. It is felt, and it is appreciated. 24 is going to be a good year, and I can't wait to see what it all has in store. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go finish plucking some feathers out of a chicken. Told you life looked a little different over here...