[tags america, life, mali]
I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated but things have been kind of up and down for me. That’s one of the big differences for me between life here and life back in America. I was actually talking about this with one of my friends here, and the way he explained it was you experience a lot of extremes here, many ups and downs, while life back in the States is somewhat more predictable. For example, in a typical week here I would probably have some sort of diarrhea, wonder what I ate, sweat profusely, play with a bunch of really cute kids, have other kids call me chinois while I’m riding my bike, hear about someone’s family member dying while hearing about someone else having a baby, hang out with some volunteers, hang out with some Malians, etc. The whole while I feel like this emotional pendulum at one moment reaching some very high highs (like when I’m playing with some really cute babies) or some very low lows (like when I question what I’m doing here). Although I try to maintain a somewhat “normal” schedule it’s clear my sense of time has become distorted. Back in the States I would always have a good sense of what time it was because so much of American life revolves around this “go go go” mentality so that we’re in perpetual motion. Meanwhile here things are a lot slower and instead of telling you it’s 9:24 AM to me it’s just sogoma. Life will definitely be different for me when I go back, IF I go back.
So how do you define American life? It’s interesting for me because I now come from an outsider’s perspective (this being the longest time I’ve ever been out of the country). America, to me, still represents all that’s possible. America is still a place where anyone can go and be incredibly successful (in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness). Right now I’m in a country where each day I have to plan where I’m going to poop because there aren’t toilets everywhere. Even when it comes to holes in the ground the quality of nyegens varies (my nyegen is sweet by the way). In America you walk in to any restaurant and more likely than not the food will not make you sick and you can use a toilet if you need it.
As I start “work” soon I really wonder how things will turn out. I have so many project ideas in my head but I’m not sure if I have the time or the talent to carry them out. In sh’allah! Please keep me in your prayers and keep your checkbooks open (fun projects coming soon!) I have spent the past week stuffing my face and dare I say it, have I gained weight thanks to Tabaski? Tabaski is the celebration here similar to Thanksgiving when Muslims celebrate God sparing Abraham from killing his only son (he sacrificed a ram instead). So every Tabaski countless rams are slaughtered and a big feast is held. Needless to say I’ve spent the past two days eating great food thanks to my homologue and my language tutor. Life doesn’t suck. IST coming soon.