Riding over red dirt roads with a headwind, signaling a storm rolling in.
Sitting out under the mango tree with Dorcas, talking about what the past has taught us and what we hope for the future.
Watching Brazilian soap operas about India, dubbed over in French.
Eating lunch at Rodolphe’s chawarma shop and being given a Kenny G cd for my birthday by that very strange Moroccan man.
Winding through alleys in the market looking for just the right pagne.
Let’s be honest: some days, it feels like Giardia.
Hearing my parents’ voices once a week- all the way from California. Thank goodness for technology!
My host dad, Papa Yeo, and I teasing Dorcas endlessly that she ate all the popcorn. We both know it was actually me.
Praying that the rats in the attic, having a WWF match over my room, will not break one of the ceiling panels and land in my bed. Poor Alyssa has actually had the pleasure of finding a rat in her bed with her…. no thank you.
Brushing my teeth under the stars.
Walking Martine and her 3 year old son, Aracide, home after a visit. Carrying a very sleepy boy down the street and seeing fires gleaming in every courtyard that we pass.
Eating rice and sauce choro out of a giant bowl with 5 other women and burning my hands because the sauce is so hot! Senefo women are tough ladies!
A cool breeze on an overcast morning and hot sun beams by early afternoon.
All 10 of us becoming a year older. CJ turned 24!
Stopping by the Korhogo’s only supermarket so that I can feel air conditioning while I pretend that I’m going to buy something.
Spending the morning hours washing piles and piles of clothes by hand with Mama Yeo and Dorcas. They only let me rinse and hang up since my hands aren’t very good at scrubbing- I guess it’s a lost art.
Never being able to totally blend in because of the color of my skin, but knowing that those closest to us don’t just see a “toubabou” (white person) anymore.
My nameless family dog following me down the street and sitting loyally by my side while I greet friends from church and buy phone credits.
Watching this little girl carry a dinosaur around on her back like it’s her baby. And hearing her jabber on and on in Senefo thinking that I understood it all.
Cote d’Ivoire feels familiar now.
It feels like missing family and friends back home,
but being given a whole other family and home.
It feels like not wanting to say goodbye.