We’re not in Kansas anymore

We’re not in Kansas anymore

Greeley sure isn’t Dakar. It’s funny the way we show up in America doing / saying / thinking things as if we were still in Dakar, still in West Africa.

As soon as we get in the car or in our house we lock the doors. It’s a habit, a good habit, I guess, to be very aware of our surroundings. In Dakar I carried a {pink, mind you} pocket knife, mace and a safety whistle. Just in case. Sadly circumstances brought us to that point. Awful, unspeakable things happened to people we love and we were in turn, taught to be very aware all the time.

Along that same line, if people ask questions about where we’re living or what we’re doing here, we don’t want to give away too much information. Right? At least that’s how it was in Dakar.

The ocean isn’t close anymore. But the mountains are. We’ll take em’!

Water. We can drink it. Even tap water. That feels strange.

We were a bit unsure about not having bars on the windows of our house. It wasn’t like we expected to have bars, or that we even thought that we would, it’s just weird not having them.

People don’t dress in ball gown-looking dresses to go buy tomatoes. Dakar is a fashion city and it’s so fun living around that. Everywhere you go there are so many pretty fabrics and styles and clothes.

Seeing people eat with their left hand, hand over money with their left hand, or God forbid lick their left hand (think dripping ice cream cone), we cringe just a little bit. Here! In Greeley. Where toilet paper exists and people use it. And the left hand is just a hand, the same as the right hand even.

Church in America is quiet, clean, and people don’t just pray out loud when they feel like it or clap excessively loud or dance. And the service isn’t three hours long. Church here is so…planned and predictable. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, either. It’s just not the African church. (Obviously.)

We don’t hear much French here. Except for when we speak it to each other [talking about a certain family member or something. JK!].

When we pass a neighbor or just someone on the street we don’t have to greet them. We don’t have to ask about their day, their family, if they slept well… we’ve actually jumped into another extreme: people don’t really talk to other people that they don’t know. It sounds kind of obvious [stranger danger!] to not talk to people that you don’t know, but in West Africa you talk to people! Community is everything. It can be a little too ‘in your face’ at times, but it’s a little on the lonely side here. You can easily go to the grocery store, pump gas and walk around the block without having to really talk to anyone, if you want. We’re not in Kansas, er, Dakar anymore.

There are so many differences. It’s just so odd walking down the street seeing grass and a lake, and wondering at the same time if we should “greet” the couple walking toward us. There are a million little things every day that remind us that we’re not where we were for six years, that this is our home culture, yet we don’t always feel comfortable, or know what to do / say / think. But then again we didn’t always know in West Africa either. It’s an odd but interesting place to be.

It’s a daily reminder that this world is NOT our home. Not here, not there. And it’s a push for us to continue to live missionally, to reach out, to learn to love people and dwell here on earth in a way that matters. Because life is short and we have some good news to share.

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Side note: I made some changes to our blog today:

Our tagline no longer reads "Missionaries in Senegal, Africa" but instead it reads "Our journey in West Africa and beyond".
Our tagline no longer reads “Missionaries in Senegal, Africa” but instead it reads “Our journey in West Africa and beyond”.
Our bio now reads "Missionaries to wherever God has us at the time."
Our bio now reads “Missionaries to wherever God has us at the time.”

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