Of Holy War and Hope.

The boys watching me clean yesterday. Please. Note. The outfits.

And so it begins. Corn-yellow sun streaked afternoons with the windows rolled down, fireflies and lemonade on endless twilight evenings. Sweet, salt air and crashing waves. Time to turn up the radio and air conditioning, and toss those shoes to the wayside in favor of scrunching your bare feet in the sand. The oven breathes a happy sigh of relief and relinquishes her duties to the charcoal grill-and Lord knows we won’t be eating inside for a month of Sundays!  Cheerful green lawns and blissfully cool sprinklers, baseball caps and outdoor concerts, half-melted chocolate ice cream cones and scorching hot pavement and stars and stripes and fireworks.


Oh, the fireworks!

It’s almost summer time, kids. :) [Calendar dates are more like guidelines, mmm?]

Not that the weather in Dakar has changed since I first stepped off the plane two years ago, but I do a rather excellent job of imagining Christmas weather. Sleigh rides in the sand and whatnot. However, my imaginary winter has come to an inauspicious end, and spring is here in Dakar! And really, springtime is practically summertime, if you think about it. And while I’d rather have Christmas than anything else any day of the week, we’re all about loving exactly where we are, no?

Absolutely. Not another word until we crank up a summertime jam.


Perfect. In the spirit of the season, my toes are painted that cheeky summertime standby: Cajun shrimp. The windows are rolled down to

Given the minor detail that I'm slightly prone to exaggeration, I took pictures of the grime to back my story up. Welcome to Africa.

welcome the lazy, cotton breeze and yesterday, I decided to do a bit of spring cleaning. Something about the warmer weather compels me to fling the doors and windows open wide and make everything inside sparkle. It’s something about the hope of a new beginning the spring has to offer. Hope.

I was, however, feeling slightly less than hopeful when I returned to Dakar and found all of my earthly possessions covered by a thick layer of dirt.

I kid you not-it took less than four seconds of careful inspection before Guantanamo started sounding like the Hilton. There was so much filth that I briefly contemplated ripping out my beard and donning sack cloth and ashes.

But my sack cloth was just. so. dirty.

My next idea had a little something to do the fetal position and approximately seventeen hours of bad daytime television. However, I mercifully do not have a TV.

How to make Irresistible Apple lotion...resistible.

Thus began my indignant holy war against the grime. I threw my hair up into an “I-mean-business” pony tail, cranked up Matt Wertz, and spent the better part of my yesterday wiping down every book, shampoo bottle and bobby pin with that trusty standby we hoard from the Land of the Free: Clorox wipes. My good man. My disinfection rampage looked a little crazed to my team [all of whom came in to observe the madness ensue while they enjoyed oatmeal Sunday. We’re rather short on entertainment in Dakar.] -but it was me against Africa. And I was determined to prevail! I confess, my resolve faltered momentarily when I discovered the nest of baby spiders that had made their home in my t-shirts during my absence, but twenty-seven tiny bites and more than a couple shrieks and swats later, I had exorcized them from my room.

Well, most of them.

Filth and spiders be darned, they can’t stop spring and they can’t stop hope! With every foot slip and bruised knee, hope promises much in return if only you’ll just keep moving.

And hope never disappoints


  1. I will never dress ridiculous in this country again…now that Ashley is back

  2. I feel the outfits on the guys merit an explanation.

    Heart heart heart Cajun Shrimp. Best stand by color.

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