“It is that true real inspiration and growth only comes from adversity
and from challenge. Stepping away from what’s comfortable and familiar
and stepping into the unknown, the edge.” -TED talk Ben Saunders
I am close to about a month from being done with my work in Senegal. While talking to fellow volunteers we discussed how strange it was that we notice we have feelings that are similar to how we felt when we first coming to Senegal. Wanting more personal time and connect to America, read and finish up on personal and PC projects has become front and center as my time winds down here.
Again thinking about the over all experience here strangely there are similarities between here and a few things I’ve read. I think they are kinda funny.
“There enemies are hunger, ignorance, and disease …serves humanities, inter and Americans.” p.21 Making a Difference :Peace Corps at Twenty Five by
I don’t know when I wrote above. My last months in village and in Senegal were too much. Too much of what I didn’t know I missed and will miss. Too much love poured out of people who I got to spend 2 years with. Too much of volunteers that I also spent that time with, good or bad. Too much to be said but in too little time to say it all. Too much emotion to put accurately in to words. Too much that I wanted for myself and the people around me, there and now here.
I’ve now been home for a month and until yesterday did not feel like writing. It was still too much. People that you thought you knew changed. I myself changed, but couldn’t say exactly how. In the 2 years being gone, Minneapolis, my life, my friends, my people, have all changed. Mostly for the better I would like to think. But what has also changed is how I look at them.
When you return home from being abroad, you have these crazy emotions that you can’t quite understand and they come from NO WHERE. I haven’t broke down crying at the grocery store, yet. But I have felt angry that some of my people don’t share my same view point on the world, which makes me wonder if we ever did.
Finding time to spend with people while I’m home has been fun and seeing them even better. And the most fun is seeing all my other, sometimes newer, friends who have been abroad while I was too. It’s fun to compare thoughts on re-entry (I term I’m not sure I’m fond of yet)
Slowly I’m sure my too much, won’t feel like enough. As it slowly is as I crave more conversation with people, not just my friends, but new people, like I had in Senegal. Every day new, every day something you didn’t and could have ever though you’d be doing. Not like America. Every one busy, nose stuck in their phones like it was an oxygen tank for their last breath.
I know I can’t make people see the things I’ve seen or share my experiences as richly as they ever were in person. Standing there with all the dust, heat, sweat, lovely smell of mango blossoms in the air as you just sit, because it’s too hot to do anything else than sit and talk.
Part of me is sorry, for this rant, for what I feel and how mad I get sometimes at people that are so connected to their machines, phones, time, next that they can see the person beside them, the possibility for learning, an adventure, a friend.
Then the other part of me is not. The other part sees this as ‘The Matrix’ or the movie ‘Her’ (both I highly recommend) and I want to go around somehow unplugging people, waking them up. But no matter how loud I scream or try to get their attention will they get it, understand and even start to believe it’s possible.
So I do what I can. Try to be of service, do what I can with what I have, go where I’m asked and hopefully people will just ask. “Why?” I don’t expect to every to jump on a bandwagon and want to do the same thing I do, not in the least. I just want people to open their eyes, hearts, and minds and realize there is no more to life than this, here, and now. Not tomorrow, not even in this next hour or minute. But now.
When I went to Senegal I hated to say “Inchallah“, if God wills it. It made me think that nothing will get done. Soon after I realized it was for that. It was a reminder to stay present and whoever it is, God, Allah or the Universe, will take care of it.