Monday, April 16, 2012

Confessions on an Addict

So. Tell me if you notice what all of these photos have in common:

Little sis gnawin' on some cabbage.

The most recent addition to the Ngaraff family. (wearing eyeliner eyebrows at two weeks old.)

If you guessed that the common theme was that the subjects of these photos are all under the age of two, you're right! I'm addicted to babies.  There you have it. Except, now I'm an addict in withdrawal because I left the village for good last Friday.  Deep sigh.

Below is my attempt at a picture of all the babies that have been born since I installed in the village two years ago! Look closely and you'll see that the age range is true to course (but there are some interlopers, clearly...)

Now look at this next series of pictures -- this here's the real problem: (keep in mind that all the following photos were taken with the span of a couple of weeks).

That's right, I have some compulsion about taking pictures of this baby, Kinay Gueye, and taking pictures of the two of us. I can't stop! What's wrong with me?  Isn't one of the signs of insanity to do things repeatedly for fear that you haven't done it yet? I think that's how I feel about having enough time with this baby girl, who I indefatigably refer to as "my baby." I do love her like my own.  When she does new things, like sit up by herself after a nap or make signs of crawling, I get more excited than anyone else, including Mom. God, I love that kid. She's going to be walking in a couple of months and then talking, and I'm going to miss it all.  She's going to grow up and not know Bigue, except through photos. Such is life, but it's tragic in its own way.

Being gone from site, for good, hasn't quite hit me yet.  I'm still not processing and haven't found the right words to put up here.  But we all sure did have a great last few weeks together...

With my counterpart (and holder of my heart and soul), Marieme, after our HIV/AIDS project evaluation in Linguere.
We're waving Ann Marie and Kim out of our special hug. 

The Linguere crew of two years -- one last trip to the Linguere Bar.

Ngaraff homeboys - Amadou Dieng, Ibra Dieng, Mor Dieng, Moussa Dieng - making post-lunch attaya.
Photo credit Bigue Dieng :-)

Thirsty thirsty cows outside my compound. 

The community storage shed I helped the village build before I left.

Typically afternoon hang out. Sellin' roasted peanuts.

Ran into this guy on a morning jog.

Check it out! I brought my camera along because I had found these wildly beautiful pink trees in the middle of the brown desert, in the bush behind my house!  Such extravagance out of nowhere!

These little Pulaar kids came sprinting out of their little huts every morning to shake my hand as I ran by.  Sweet smiles always.  Also, how do you know you need knew running shoes? These kids live in shacks literally made from acacia branches and old rice sacks, and they've pointed and laughed at MY shoes because they're so wretched.

To be fair, my shoes look like this... 

Oldest man in the village? Some say yes. Unconfirmed.
The people of Ngaraff threw me an off-the-hook going away party! We did what we do best - dance. Speeches were made, beignets were distributed, tears were shed. These people are so good! I felt unworthy a million times over.  Luckily it took place a few days before my actual departure so that I could recover.

One last big beignet operation.  

Taking in the party from above.

Mombusa Sar and I get things started....

Greeting the Pulaars.

Marieme.  Never have I known anyone so purely good.

The babies took over the dance floor, and it was beautiful.

Typical beignet riots.  

Speech and prayer.

Ann Marie and Abby came for the party!

Last days in Ngaraff....

Good job, ladies.