Sunday, July 29, 2007


Worrying that my most recent entries were downers, I decided that I wasn’t being representative of the full range of emotions I’ve been experiencing. Namely, that I hadn’t written enough about the happy moments that warm your heart. So not only am I going to upload lots of happy cute pictures of adorable children this week (Inshallah they go through), but I am also going to include this list of blissful moments.

To totally plagiarize…

Caitlin Givens’ Moments of Zen…

Walking back from the mayor’s office. 4 young girls (age 5ish) running full force at me yelling “Toubak! Toubak!” with huge grins on their faces. One of them ran straight into me and gave me a huge bear hug. It was so cute. I busted out laughing and smiled all the way home. Here she came barrelling towards me, a perfect stranger, and her little head only came up to my hips. Adorable.
When people emphatically correct me and tell me that “No, you speak Pulaar very well” when I apologize for only speaking a little bit. A little compliment goes a long way.
The day that my newest nephew (Albert age 18 months or so) recognized me and not only stopped being afraid of me, but spent hours playing with me.
My birthday. I spent it surrounded by new PCV friends who I’ve only known for a few months, who trekked out from their villages (no easy task) to spend time with me, just so that I could have a nice day. One of whom called for a circle of “Why We Love Caitlin.” Then each went around in turn and gave one reason why they love me. It’s hard to explain how important fellow PCV support is out here. We really do become eachother’s family.
Recognizing people from my town!
Prepping people in my town for my departure for IST and them all telling me how much they are going to miss me.
Finally feeling accepted by the matrons and sage-femmes at the health post.
Double trouble. My two little nephews toddling around our compound with their big bellies (not cuz they’re fat) hanging out, babbling in babyspeak, and herding our family’s goats. They are fearless and will just go right up to them and smack em if they aren’t going the right way.
A solid night’s sleep.
The 2 days when my alarm clock thermometer did not get above 100 degrees!
Successfully convincing my family that they NEED to sleep under mosquito nets.
Attending my quartier’s (neighborhood) winning soccer match. Everytime they scored a goal we all rushed the field and my sisters and their friends and neighbors danced and sang throughout the whole game.
The realization that I’m going to be able to eat ICE CREAM for 3 weeks when I’m in Thies for IST!
Finally tracking down the health supervisor in his office after months of unsuccessful attempts.
The sound of the robinet in the morning (the faucet). Because it means that the water is on.
It being cool enough at night to finally start sleeping in my room.
Haco nights! Yum!
Going to the post office and discovering that I have letters, packages, or postcards of any kind. (THANK YOU ALL!)
Not freaking out when I found a full chicken head and neck in my “yassa poulet.” (I did not eat it.)
Catching a whiff of something that smells good-soap, lotion, perfume, anything.
Eating as much all natural, not processed Senegalese peanut butter as I want. A half kilo is only 75 cents!
Doing laundry while jamming out to Whitney Houston’s Top 20 and singing at the top of my lungs.
Quiet moments talking with my yaaye when its just she and I and the littlest kids.
When my little 7 year old nephew and 10 year old niece came to my door the other day and held up a tiny slip of paper asking me what it said. My eyes fell on the words “erectile disfunction.” My sister Binta found some generic viagra in the house and was wondering what the pills did, but the instructions were written in English. Hilarious. Of course no one has admitted ownership of the meds!
The realization that I am really going to miss my family for the month that I am gone for IST in Thies. When I almost cried leaving my baby nephews I realized that this really is my home.
And finally…those moments when I’m walking around my town, or riding in a van and I think to myself “I’m doing it!” That I’m living my dream. I’m here, in West Africa, on my own, doing what I love, working for something I believe in, challenging myself every moment and not just surviving, but thoroughly enjoying almost every moment.


Wendy said...

I love that the majority of your happy moments involve munchkins ;)

Karen said...

oh cait,

this made me cry. im so proud that u are fullfilling your dream.

i love u

and miss u

ur ciz