jerrejef: thank you
Today is my last and final day in Senegal. Tonight I say goodbye to my family and get on a plane and say goodbye to Senegal, maybe forever. I have lived through three months and eight days in Senegal, or 97 days, to be exact. I feel somewhat sad to be leaving but I also feel like it is time, like I am very ready to go. I am ready to go back to my family and my friends and comforts and food, but at the same time I am also ready to go forward to new places and new things. As of right now, I don’t see myself ever coming back to Senegal, but you never know.
Yet I still feel extremely grateful for those 97 days and all that happened in them. There are so many reasons to say jerrejef:
Jerrejef to my family, for their openness and teranga, their willingness to let me into their home and into their lives for just a short time. Jerrejef to Dakar, for its chaos (the hectic scramble at the markets, the wild driving, the cows meandering across the six-lane highway) and for its calm (walking home in the evening listening to the call to prayer and watching birds surround the mosque, the emptiness of Sunday mornings). Jerrejef to all my friends in the city, who made me smile whenever I walked past, from the security guards near my house to Baye Fall who owned the boutik on my street. Jerrejef to all the strange and beautiful once-in-a-lifetime moments, like waking up at dawn on a ship steaming through the jungle or spending a few nights in a remote dusty village. Jerrejef to the hard moments, such as nearly passing out from dehydration or the worst baptism in history. Jerrejef to the delicious food of which I may never taste the exact same flavor again. Jerrejef to each one of those 97 days, 97 days where I learned half a dozen new things between waking up and going to sleep.
Jerrejef, suma waa ker! Jerrejef, sumay xariti! Jerrejef, Dakar! Jerrejef, Senegal! Jerrejef, jerrejef, jerrejef!