Taking Time

Dakar Travel Blog

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Today, I felt stuck. Just stuck in the house. I didn't have any set plans with any of the other students like I had before. Everyone else had made plans with others, and I didn't want to intrude. So I woke up, got my laundry done. Finally. Then I just read in the common areas of the house. For four hours. I got half way through the book I started reading at the pool Saturday. (Which is 'Velvet Elvis' by Rob Bell. You all should read it.)

After lunch, I made the excuse for going on a shopping trip. Actually, I just bought a Fanta Citron at a gas station and sat there for an hour. I went to Les Ambassades and bought an ice cream, enjoyed it sitting on the side of the road watching the traffic go by. Then I took about ten minutes to by a case of bottled water.

Back at the house, a bunch of ladies dressed in their weekend finest came to have a visit with one of my aunts. I wish I could have taken their picture, but it was just not my place to intrude. They were gorgeous. Each was swirling in yards of patterened fabric and gold jewelry.

After reading for a few more hours, I decided to move around and explore the area directly around my house. I realized that I hadn't actually seen what was in the neighboorhood yet. I found a cool, old Catholic church just hiding around the corner. I'm going to try to sneak in on a service the next Sunday I'm in town. A neighborhood soccer match was going on, too. There was loud hip-hop music playing and tons of people sitting on mounds of sand and stone around this dirt "field" sandwiched right between a road and row of shops. The funny thing was that there were probably only about five or six girls in a crowd of two hundred.

After getting back home, my brother (whose name is Momo, I now know) took me on a walk to a different quartier to visit one of his friends. He asked me why I was walking too fast. I explained that Americans are so used to always being in a hurry. It's hard for us to slow down. Later, as we were walking home with his friend, they began to slow down to barely moving while getting deeper and deeper in conversation. It was actually painful to be moving that slow. Just like doing nothing all day was killing me. It hit me that we do move too fast too often. Learning to take time is definitely something I need to work on.

Visiting Momo's friend was a bit of an eye-opener. His friends room was maybe eight by five feet in floor space. There was just enough room for his bed and a tiny table. My homestay familiy seems so much more well to do in comparison. The neighborhood that his friend lived in had a different feel also. But there seemed to be more life in Medina, where his friend lived. There were more people out doing things on this Sunday afternoon. Impromtu soccer matches, music and dancing, people manning their open shops (a different concept as I can't do anything because business always seem to be closed on Sunday), women cooking on the side of the street, a large tent with chairs set up as if some big event was in the works.

Though people were active, they weren't busy. I think that's the big difference between the U.S. and here. Do stuff, but actually put some life into what you do. Then it doesn't matter if you are moving at 50 or 5 miles per hour. Stop going through the motions just to do it. Throw some passion into the everyday.

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