Monday, December 12, 2011

Assam, My 6 year old brother stands next to me holding out his hands putting on his best puppy dog- face “myma tega-dega”- give me peanutbutter. He then hears someone walking towards the room and runs to hide behind the door. My mom enters the room, grabs some of her stuff, and leaves- Assam stands holding his breathe not moving a muscle behind the door. He doesn’t get caught. Good thing too, If he was caught he would get the belt. He comes back, holding out his hands “myma tega-dega, dama xif”- give me peanutbutter, I’m hungry. I scan the premises, make sure the coast is clear, pull out my spoon, and scoop him up some. He consumes it like he hasn’t eaten in days. Then another scoop, and another. I watch him eating, with mixed feelings of compassion and frustration, why doesn’t his family feed him? Why do I have to share with him in secret? Reality check.  My family can’t afford snacks, they can only afford to pay for the basic meals- day by day. They go the market before each meal and buy the exact amount of food they need – 2 fish, I pack of aja (seasoning) a small bag of oil, an onion, half a carrot, half of a small cabbage. All together costing about 600 cfa, a little over $1.00; so that explains the hunger. But what bothers me even more, the violence.
Now, before I go into the abuse situation I would just like to state that my experience in Senegal, and my family in Senegal should not represent SENEGAL as a whole, I know for a fact that each fellow that’s placed in Senegal is having totally different experiences.  But in my experience, my family.. is abusive. And it’s challenging, and heart wrenching, and scary, but I know that I am in the right place at the right time. These kids (all 8 of them) need me right now, at least I like to think so. And although I have to show them care in secret, at least they are finally receiving it. I am learning to fight for what I think is right. In order to really fix any problem, you have to fully understand it. I am able to more fully understand the reality every day. It’s all complicated, so so complicated. But there’s hope for change in the future, and I am trying to make the best of the present. I am living in poverty, and it’s changing my life.


  1. This made me cry. I pray for you and your host family every single day. No matter how hard and complex a situation is, there's hope. I love you!

  2. Heavy heart as I read this too...you and your host family are also in my prayers, and I second your sister's comments above. Stay close to God so you can receive and reflect his beautiful light and neverending love to all around you. You are a beautiful soul Kaya.

  3. Kaya I love you soo much, you're way to great to be real. you seriously remind me of an angel. I'm serious. I love reading about your experiences, it makes me cry and happy! sometimes loving someone is all you can do! You are grand Kaya!