I’m currently in Dakar, sitting in my very nice room without a mosquito net, no mouse scurrying inside my mattress, no spiders nestled on the walls, no dusty dirt everywhere, no annoying donkey whining, no chickens clucking, no hungry cats meowing, or little children screaming while playing in the dirt, or hearing the pounding of a mother making millet, or goats bleating around, or people talking and yelling in Serer, or foot stomps of little kids running around or the very annoying pigeons scurrying along the tin roof or roosters cockle-doodle-doing every hour. But I would trade the fan in my room in Dakar for the mosquito net in Ngohé. I’d trade the black and yellow beeping taxis for the donkey whinnies, chickens clucking, pigs grunting and goats bleating. I’d trade the peace and quiet for the laughter, yelling, and crying of the little kids playing outside. I’d trade the cityscape of modernity for the open night filled with stars.
One thing I hate about myself is that goodbyes never hit me until after I leave the place and people. I always think to myself, ‘Rachel, why didn’t you feel this way when you were still there with everyone?’ I really don’t know but from all my past experiences I always truly recognize and realize the gravity of my goodbyes to people only after I’ve already left.
Last night was really hard. But first I wanna share a nugget of wisdom: Never be rushed to leave a place. I told my family I was leaving, I thought when I had told my siblings that they’d also tell the parents. When I was reminding Celine, my host mom, she was so surprised. I guess my sisters didn’t tell them. Last night was my goodbye party. My sisters made the typical ‘Senegalese salad.’ I thought we’d all be eating together but it turned out the beautiful salad was just for my host dad, 3 other men and myself. I was really disappointed to find that I wouldn’t be sharing my last meal with the whole family – especially the kids, my siblings, and my mom – people who I had spent the most time with while being here. Oh well, I couldn’t really do anything but be grateful so I ate with the men and felt awkward cause they were all talking in Serer and I could hear the rest of the family eating outside.