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In This Moment

In this moment, looking at the stars, smelling the minty-ness of the bush, and itching from the mosquito bites covering my arms and legs, all I can feel is gratitude. I’m grateful for my pop-up bug tent that sets up in two seconds and keeps the mosquitoes out. I’m grateful to feel full from my delicious lunch of rice, bissap sauce, and fish balls, and then attaya and roasted peanuts for dessert. I’m grateful for my families. My three homestay families who all welcomed me with open arms and showed me how kind and caring people can be to complete strangers. My family at home who supported me coming to this amazing country, without them I don’t know where I’d be right now. Finally, my Dragons family.

Although we only met a few months ago, these people, six instructors (yes, six) and ten students, have truly become my family. We’ve survived thirteen hours in a hot van together, tell each other what our poops are like on a scale of one to ten, and shared the wonderful, the embarrassing, and the lonely parts about living in an entirely different family and environment. Most of all, we’ve grown together. I think it’s safe to say that none of us have ever experienced anything like this before. We left home to live in a new country with a language and culture foreign to us, and we did it with a group of strangers. I think that in itself makes us a pretty cool group of people. Then, throughout this program, we’ve had countless of eye-opening discussions and experiences that have, at least for me, completely changed our view of the world.

Now, with only two weeks left in Senegal, we’ve begun to notice changes in ourselves and in the rest of the group. Sooner than we realize, we’ll be back home. Home, where things have barely changed while we feel completely different from who we were when we left. We’ll look back on this experience and remember shared food bowls, mosquito nets, and hot vans. Baby goats, squatty potties, and red dirt. Hospitality, community, and love. And we’ll be grateful.