Found out today that my co-workers all chipped in and bought me some Senegalese fabric and Eliane took me to the local tailor for my fitting. They were making me a Taibas as a goodbye gift!! The whole time, everyone told me it was a new dress for Philo and I kept thinking it was until the tailor asked for my measurements. Clearly, I was confused.
My goodbye festivity meal with Philo & Eliane
Waiting at the tailor’s reminded me how much I hate goodbyes and the emotions that come with it (who doesn’t really?). I was realizing for me, I’m so excited return to Dakar and then move on to the next part of my year abroad but for Fatou, Philo, Eliane and Boucar, the next weeks will continue to remain the same. Is it weird to feel guilty for being excited?
I have to continually remind myself that feeling guilty for having more (opportunity, finances, and availability of resources) than those in my village won’t change anything. It’s what I do because of those feelings that matters more. Living with my village host family was undoubtedly a personal growth experience. I got to see and experience how a part of development works in an African country, but more importantly, I learned about my own strengths and weaknesses and grew spiritually.
Senegalese version of “salad” (aka fired fish, sautéed onions, french fries, cucumbers, lettuce & eggs). Despite this weird combo, this was absolutely delicious cause I missed eating raw greens!
“Oh, I’m going to miss you, Rachelle!” Philo said to me. I realized this marked the start of the end of my internship and the goodbyes to follow in the next few days. Philo told me Fatou said she’d miss me too and those words warmed my heart, because Fatou isn’t one to be sentimental. She’s a working mother of 6 but I’ve had the chance to see her “off duty” and she’s fun but mischievous (in a good way) – especially when we all play Go Fish (I taught them this and they love it!). I forget Fatou and Eliane are mothers or women who’re my seniors. They laugh and joke like teenage girls sometimes and it always makes me smile when I see them enjoying themselves (even if I’m the one they’re joking about).
Eliane & I just hanging out as we wait for Fatou
But in all seriousness, I really do enjoy those moments because everyone works so hard every, single day. They see patients often without breaks, are on call 24/7, and in my opinion, don’t get paid enough for what they do. I’m going to miss them. A lot.