I DARE you to call me toubab one more time, I swear…

Hello all! If you haven’t noticed, the whole toubab thing is starting to get to me. I’m getting frustrated in general to be honest. I feel like I’m in a fish bowl. People point and shout at me constantly and neighbors will laugh and talk about the stupid things that toubab next door does. Not speaking the language is extremely isolating. I wish I could communicate better with everyone, it would make life a lot easier. This has made me realize how valuable it is to know multiple languages. What’s even more lonely is I miss being touched. I miss holding hands, I miss being hugged, I miss high fives, I miss kisses. I’m sure these feelings will fade but even though everyone is so welcoming, I still feel alone. Thank God I met my friend Jean Marc, a French Canadian who is interning at an NGO here. On Saturday he and I went to Bakau to look at the shops and go to the beach. The ocean has never felt so refreshing! And now I can say that I’ve swam on both ends of the Atlantic Ocean. He then introduced me to some of his co-workers who are from Burkina Faso and South Africa. We all went to a bar, drank Gambian brews, and watched the Champions League final match amidst a bunch of riled up Gambians. It was a much needed night out and speaking English never felt so right. We talked about a whole host of issues about Africa, shared some laughs and had really stimulating conversations. I really enjoyed it. 

The past few days have been pretty lazy, though I did log in some hours at the archives. It is such a powerful feeling to hold documents from the early 1900s and late 1800s that were correspondence between The Gambia and Great Britain during the colonial period. I feel like I am getting a front row seat to history. Unfortunately I’m not finding the kind of slave documents I was hoping to find, so the direction of my project may be shifting. I’m really into education records and tracking the progress of women’s education here so I may talk to Dr. Sarr and see if I can do something regarding that. We’ll see.

Just like there are Christians in America who invade your space and shove their religion down your throat, there are Muslims here who do the same. I accidentally bought a woven Muslim prayer mat thinking it was a beach mat (seriously, it looked like a beach mat) and so many people thought I was a Muslim. When I told one women that, no, I in fact was not a Muslim, she sat me down for a talk. She told me all about the values of Islam and why I should consider converting. She told me she would teach me to pray. I thanked her for the advice and began to walk away but she was persistent. The language barrier did not help at all. She finally gave up and told me she was sad that I would be going into hell-fire and not paradise. I guess I’ll be careful about not buying prayer mats any more!

I know that these trials are just part of the experience. I am really starting to miss America, but with 17 days left I know I have a lot to still learn before I am back on American soil. I did walk to the store and I bought a sprite and a twix bar. I also eagerly bought spam for Musu to fix for dinner. It’s amazing how the little things can really help. Well, I must go plug in my computer before the electricity goes out again! Until next time…


3 thoughts on “I DARE you to call me toubab one more time, I swear…

  1. Pam Fritz says:

    Sounds like quite an experience, but one I know you will look back on and cherish. I am so proud of who you have become and know that I am thinking about you always. You are tough and 17 days will fly by fast.

    Reggie is on a break inbetween jobs and starts Office Max on Friday. He will be working there on Fri, Sat. and Sun, and during the week will be in Dowagiac working at a kids camp. He changed his curriculum and now has to go one more year. His major is History.

    Uncle Bruce has been working a lot of overtime and is saving his money for a trip to Pittsburgh again this year with Reggie for his birthday. I went two years ago and it was a lot of fun, but once is enough. It just so happens that Notre Dame plays Pitt at the same stadium that they will be watching the Steelers the next day. They have tickets to both!!! He was diagnosed with diabetes about 1 year ago and is on medication and diet. He has lost about 15 lbs. and is doing great. He usually gets about 4-5 deer a year, but because of some disease that the deer got this year, he got none.

    I am not working at this time as the nursing home that I was working for as a Accredited Medical Records Coder and Director decided to re-organize and leave me in the dust, so I am job searching. I recently applied for a job at a local nursing home as a front desk clerk and they said I was extremely over qualified and felt I would be bored with the job and hired someone else, UGH!. I am now waiting on a call from St. Joe Hospital for a coding job. I do not want to be a director anymore, because I find it very uncomfortable confronting people to reprimand them.

    I have lost almost 55 lbs. and feel great. When I quit smoking 9 years ago, I poured on the weight. I guess I had exchanged one addiction for another. I am walking almost 1.5 miles every other day and hope to get up to 2 miles soon. I cannot wait to walk in Steve’s Run in July. I wish you could be here then.

    I am enjoying my time off, gardening and watching the great nieces…mostly Aurora who is one years old (Stef’s), who is a sweet heart and I call her sweet pea. I have adopted 2 cats of Reggie’s and I never was a cat lover, but turns out I AM. I love them and they love me (they told me so in their eye squints….lol)

    I really enjoy your blogs and you have a great knack for writing. I know things seem tough now, but hang in there, they can only get better. Miss you…..keep safe.

    Aunt Pam

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s