Of Big Band Music and Malaria.

My little sister and I at Seattle's Best Coffee-where my brothers have promised to take me after dinner the night that I get home!

In only twenty-four days, my plane is going to touch down in beautiful Raleigh. Twenty-four days until dinner at home, country radio, driving barefoot on back-country roads, Seattle’s Best Coffee with my brothers, and seeing a lot of you! It feels absolutely unreal-and with how busy things have been in Dakar lately, I’m fairly convinced that those all-too short days are going to rush by in a frenzied whirl of commotion.

I’m up an hour earlier than I need to be-that’s what happens when I have a lot to do. My body adamantly refuses to let me sleep until I’ve successfully crossed through every single item on my beloved to-do list. And thanks to the fact that Christy and I are mostly settled into the Ritz, I’m in the living room with a laughably oversized mug of French Vanilla coffee, typing away without waking Christy up! Oh, the little things. :)

Last night, the SP threw a dance party for all of their students, and my team got to connect with them. Having twenty-six people here has lent a remarkable surge of energy and life to ministry in Dakar-it’s a bit overwhelming to think about what will happen when they leave, and we are left with a seemingly impossibly long list of names and phone numbers of people that want to keep talking about Jesus. That’s how my team started ministry in Dakar back in October-last year’s SP [the very first people on the ground from the US!] left us an enormous excel document filled with details about the friends that they had made during their six weeks in my city. When I stop to think about it, I realize that some of the things that we do in Senegal are entirely bizarre-only here can you text message a student that you’ve never met and say, “Hi, I’m an American living in Dakar. I’m a friend of so-and-so’s, and I’d like to be your friend. Can we meet?” and be met with a wildly enthusiastic response. I would never respond to that text message were I to receive something like it back in North Carolina-but our Senegalese students do. When the SP leaves, my team will be handed a list of hundreds of names. I imagine that we’ll be exceedingly busy contacting those students through at least next Christmas.

Christy and I with some of our students the day that I was asked to perform "American Grace".

But back to the dance party. All of the usual favorites made an appearance-Single Ladies, the Cupid Shuffle, The Cha-Cha Slide—but then in an unexpected blissful turn of events, I got to teach swing dancing with one of the SP guys! Joseph and I started wildly whirling around the dance floor in the midst of a song that was decidedly not a swing song, and before I knew what was happening Michael Buble was crooning  “Just haven’t met you yet” and we were teaching a myriad of Senegalese and Americans the basic step!  I am unquestionably persuaded that I was born in the wrong decade-I think I could have fit seamlessly into a world where bright red lipstick and animated big band music collided in an enchanting night on the town.  If Frank Sinatra ever asked me to “take all of him”, I certainly don’t have the faintest idea how I could possibly resist. It was really, really fun to dance again-hands down, if I ever have a choice, I prefer to swing. I’ve been doing it for years, and it’s an easy favorite. It was fun to take a break from the craziness that has ensued around here lately-in between moving, SP kids getting sick [everybody is absolutely fine now, but we had one case of malaria!], ministry, meetings, starting to raise financial support so that I can come back next year, and a host of other demands on my time, taking a couple hours to just dance and hang out with students was simply divine. :)

A shot from lunch at Khadi's the other day.

In about an hour and a half, we’re taking the SP to Goree Island-a place where slaves were held before being loaded onto ships. There’s an interesting museum, but the whole island is surprisingly beautiful and fun to explore. With all of the little old ladies shaking cheerfully colored artisan crafts in front of a group of twenty-six Americans that have no idea what they’re doing, I’m fairly certain that I’ll spend a significant portion of my afternoon bargaining on people’s behalves. And goodness, I suppose it’s about time to start shopping for myself-I haven’t picked up a thing for anyone yet! And I’m almost out of time…

[More specific stories about the past few days to come soon.]

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