Monday, January 23, 2012

Ile de Ngor

Kyle had no school last Monday, not because of MLK, but because of a softball tournament. We, however, did not participate in either. Plus I am unsure of what exactly to do to celebrate MLK day...

so, we took the time to head to an island off the coast of Dakar. Ile de Ngor.

we took our very own tour guide, therese. really, our house-helper. not much of a tour guide considering the language barrier, however it was fun to have her join us and have an extra set of eyes on the girls

to get to the island you pay approximately $1 and take a pirogue (boat) across.

the island was clean (a welcome sight indeed!) and had beautiful architecture and flora. we meandered all through the island and admired the sites and scenery.


the island was also spotted with random art/graffiti. even the concrete benches were beautiful.

Ile de Ngor is home to the infamous surf breaks, Ngor right and Ngor left, from Endless Summer.

somebody's pet pelican, true story

and this was the view of the mainland from the island. you can even make out the $27 million bronze statue in the background. quite a worthwhile investment by the current president....ya know...given the 40% unemployment rate and all.

we made it back home exhausted. every new outing is always bit stressful. however, we look forward to another trip back to the island now that we know what to expect. 



Thursday, January 19, 2012

Leaps and Bounds

Going to the grocery store was such a tough excursion.
 How much money to take?
 How do we greet people…we don’t want to look like foreigners when we first walk in? (even though we are)
 Where is everything?
 Does it really cost that much? 
What do we really need? 
This looks sketch…should we try it? people actually eat this here?  (usually in that order)

All these thoughts used to come into our minds all too frequently.  We’ve been here over 5 months now.  We’re on the downhill slope of this mountain called Africa (bad analogy…it’s actually very flat here).  …But things are getting easier. 

I laugh at the idea of going to the grocery store being such a tough thing.  It was so draining.  But I’m glad to say…not anymore.

Over Christmas break we tried to get out and about once a day in Dakar, whether it be to go get crepes near the beach, to go to a bigger grocery store only 10 minutes away, to go spend the morning away at the beach, go shopping downtown, whatever it may be.  And we’re actually doing it on our own.  Looking back at the beginning, Faith’s goal was to hail a cab on her own by the time we left here.  Well, she did that in the first 2 months, as she wanted to help out at the talibe center across town and needed to get there on her own.  I had only sparingly driven a manual before coming here (the school has 5 different vehicles staff can check out…all manual transmissions).  Now I can hold my own driving a stick (even in the congested, “make up your own lanes as you go” streets of Dakar).  We’ve grown by leaps and bounds since we first came here.  The little things seem like little things and the big things don’t seem as big.  We’ll see if the next 5 months hold more of the same. 


Friday, January 6, 2012

No matter where you go, there you'll always be

Yeah, I know, pretty darn profound.  But I hope the point still gets across:  you will still be you no matter where you go.  Did Africa change that?  Heck no.  Do I still procrastinate?  Yes.  Do I still have trouble focusing on getting one message across rather than trying to get multiple points across in the classroom and sometimes wonder if I even got anywhere?  Yes.  Do I still have poor personal hygiene habits that lead my wife to looks of disgust?  Yes (I know that one came out of nowhere, but that’s what came into my mind next).  Do I still struggle with reading my Bible and praying?(praying for others back home and in the states has been especially I feel so detached from everything there) ...still a struggle..Yes.  Do I still like to control things, whether it be a conversation or outcome of things?  Yep. Am I still not as organized as I would like to be? Yep.  If I’m honest with myself, do I still look after me, myself, and I too much and not live as selflessly as I think I should?  Yeah. Does my wife still wish I was more romantic?  Yep.  And is this guy still searching for a way to make his 5-year anniversary special for his beloved wife who is exhausted and in bed right now?   Maybe?..   Do I still have trouble relaxing and being OK with not doing something or being busy? (which definitely has reared its ugly head on Christmas break!)  You guessed it…yep. 

A wise man once said that the common denominator in all the broken relationships you have is you.  That’s unnerving to hear…and own up to.  Me, myself and I have an uncanny ability to get in the way.

And I know that’s a pessimistic way of looking at things.  But it’s true.  Africa I’m sure has changed some things in both myself and Faith (and maybe the girls too).  It’s hard to always tell, though…at least while you’re in the midst of it.   Some things always seem to stay the same.  God, not Africa, will have to change those.

I think we’ll see more looking back on Africa in the rear view mirror. 


Fyi…5 more months.  We are over the hump and on the downward slope!