There comes a time when everyone just needs to spread their wings and fly. I experience two instances of this trans-formative time in one's life today. The first being when a Senegalese child finally realizes that they can't be little brats constantly. In Senegal, parents generally do not discipline their children until a certain age and especially little boys. I say a certain age because it seems to be different depending on the family. Well, Ahmed is experiencing this change first hand.
I honestly think my family starting monitoring/ caring about Ahmed's actions on Monday. Previously he was allowed to hit people, to cry, to eat out of his own little bowl at mealtimes, to pacify himself with my mom's/ his grandma's boobs, and generally be a little terror. I've never allowed him to get away with things with me. He knows that he can't touch things in my room without asking permission, that I will kick him out of my room if he just barges in, and that I know and care when he lies. It was a true revelation on Monday for him when he discovered that the rest of the family now cares as well. Last night, after I posted my blog and while we had no power, my mom and Khady finally put it together that Ahmed had lied to both of them about the other one giving him a bath. For some reason Ahmed hates bathes even though it's a bazillion degrees here and he's pretty much always dirty. They finally figured it out when the other Jeenaba told on him and my mom dragged Ahmed by one arm across the compound and into the shower where he proceeded to howl for the entire time that she attempted to bath him.
The real kicker with this whole situation is that my family has figured out that I have previously set limits for Ahmed/ created a set of consequences for him and now they use me as an example. They are always saying that I want him to do this or that or this is what Alyssa does, trying to goad him into behaving responsibly. We'll see how this process of disciplining after not for the first four years of his life works out. So far it's a catastrophe. The only part I'm enjoying is Ahmed attempting to eat from the communal bowl at lunch because he's even worse than me! I know I shouldn't gloat that I'm better at using a spoon that a four year old, but I have to take whatever small victories I can get over here in Africa!
The second instance of being pushed out of the nest was taking the new stagaires on their first walk around Thies. If I remember correctly I was completely terrified and horrified and near tears after my walk around experience, but all the people I was walking with wanted was a cold beer, which is also completely understandable. After getting to the center an hour later than what I was told and then taking an hour and a half nap on one of couches while I waited for the afternoon session to actually end, I took a handful of new volunteers on their first expedition into the Thies market. I will say that during the dry season (now) it's much less horrifying than when I was a stagaire (the rainy season) and that everyone took it really well. I walked them up the main market street and right to a local PCV bar/ hangout where we had a nice beverage before going back to the center for dinner.
After dinner we took everyone to the Catholic bar for the first time. This stage seems very fun and everyone was stunned by the beautiful night sky from our perch on the roof of the bar just like I was when I first got here. It was very fun hanging out with the new PCTs. There are actually quite a few people who went to UM or are from Michigan so it's fun to talk about home and how fabulous UM is! Go Blue!
Messy, but Warm
6 months ago