It’s nighttime and past my bedtime but for a day like today it’s worth sacrificing a little bit of sleep time. A perfect day. One of so many perfect days in Dakar. I like to practice managing annoyances wisely. Many hours sitting in car traffic equals a growing appreciation of audiobooks. My current audio lecture on Buddhism is so good that I’m pretty sure all the cars and horse-carts in Africa could come to a halt and I wouldn’t care. I’d be happy sitting in my car while listening and nodding my agreement. Humanity is the same everywhere. We get peeved, we get excited, we feel love pressing at the insides of our hearts wanting to get out. I’m pressing in the shea butter now inside a tiny wound that is healing on my ankle. It was disinfected by the ocean. It was caused by the loose leash of a surfboard. The very fact I’m surfing has given me strength I’ve never felt before. As I rub in the shea I think of a friend who mentioned that sacred shea here claims to have special properties. And that it also absorbs fully into the skin and even goes into the blood stream. Newborn babies are rubbed all over with Shea here.
I wonder what else is in my blood now after nearly two years of dust and ocean baths in Dakar. Patience, have I practiced it enough ? Is it part of me more
now ? Being a manager here I feel like I lose my temper much too often. How many excuses can I listen to ? But then we burst out laughing and my Senegalese team teases me and I them and we remind each other of how much we care about each other. Today a colleague mentioned in one breath “You know how fond we are of you”. Candlelight flickers next to my electric lamp. I guess that if the power were to suddenly go out, I wouldn’t mind so very much. Perhaps that’s half my secret to happiness right there, and it’s encapsulated in wax and earphones: have a Plan B. Have an audiobook ready when you hit traffic and keep the candles burning bright. Have a joke up your sleeve and memorize a witty idiom in Wolof to use as an icebreaker. Carry an extra t-shirt with you on the hot days. Hog change. Always have a pot of pure shae butter by your bed. Don’t refuse Attaya. And rub in every part of Dakar into your wounds and into your healthy bits as you let it absorb right down into your blood stream.