It is weird for me to think that I left in Winter and it’s now Spring. I’ve reached the point of comfort and habituation in life here. My house feels lived in. The people I pass on the street are familiar faces. I have friends who I genuinely enjoy being around and miss when I’m away and I have a life here I can’t yet begin to imagine having to leave. Things are beginning to feel normal to me.
I spend my days dancing on the streets with children to traditional Susu music. I thrive on the joy I pry from everyone surrounding me. Their excited faces when I speak Susu, which immediately lends to them slapping their knees and shouting “Fote sosoxui fala” — the white person speaks Susu. I turn around, slap my knees back, dance a little jig and sing to them “Fore fotexui fala” — The African speaks the white person’s language. We laugh, we bond, and we all agree that life is so damn funny.
I’m in love with my village, my family, my community, and this culture. There are ups and downs — even on a daily basis. One moment I’m soaring high, loving every aspect about Koba and Guinea and Peace Corps and the next I’m near tears because I’m so tired and frustrated of not understanding what’s going on. The hardest thing to adapt to isn’t the lack of running water, electricity, or a decent meal — it’s the complete and utter unknown of a new culture. Constantly making mistakes, being corrected, misreading situations, and feeling like a fool.
But, petit a petit. Dondoronti dondoronti. Ceda ceda. Little by little.
Every marriage ceremony I attend and dance in a giant circle at brings me a little closer to my village. Every person I greet on my path connects me a little more to the culture. Every conversation in Susu is a small win. I’m trucking along here. Every day I feel grateful and happy to be. Every day I wish I could find the words to share with you the meaningfulness of my experiences here.
I’m still searching.
I know things have been crazy with the Ebola in the international news, but I think you all back home have by now gotten the memo that we’re OK and not to panic. I’m happy, healthy, and safe. Wishing you all a lovely Spring — enjoy the cherry blossoms for me.