She looked at me as if I were crazy. I didn’t understand it then, but I think I get it now.

Back in the day… Jana, my roommate, me, Cheikh and Pape (Sr.)

Back in 2003 (B.CK. – before ‘Cheikh and Khady’), I was living in a village outside of Dakar with a roommate who is one of my best friends to this day. We had some kind of team meeting the following day and Cheikh was going to be traveling down from St-Louis to attend. My roommate and I had been talking about things we needed to do that day and I said, “And we need to make banana bread for Cheikh.” She just looked at me blankly. “Well, it’s his favorite so we need to make some.” Then she gave me the ‘you’re crazy’ look and replied, “Uh, maybe you need to make him some…”

I remember thinking how odd it was that she wasn’t concerned with making sure his favorite treat was waiting when he arrived – like I always did. This should have been an indicator that I was actually in love with the guy, but I was totally clueless. So was he.

Saying goodbye. After Cheikh put him down, Pape just clung to his leg and then cried at the door.

Fast-forward almost ten years. (Wow!) Cheikh is up in St-Louis working with a volunteer medical team for a couple days. It’s a group of French osteopaths (or ostéopathes, rather) down for a couple weeks and he’s coordinating their work in the area where he used to live. He wasn’t sure what to expect – either from the team or the hosting clinic. But based on his phone call earlier today, things are going great.

Patients waiting to be seen

The local hospital director made radio announcements to publicize the three-day event and decided that rather than offering it for free, they would charge 1,000cfa (about $2) per person in order to raise funds to stock the clinic’s pharmacy. We thought this was a great idea. It’s affordable, but enough of an expense that people won’t just come for a free hand-out (or hands-on… ha ha!). The team was able to treat lots of patients this morning, with Cheikh running back and forth between rooms as the only translator, and were stopping for lunch hosted by the village when he called.

So proud.

While Cheikh is away, I am flying solo with a wee one who thinks he’s a co-pilot. I’ve decided it’s about time he gets a summer job. If anyone is looking to hire someone who is skilled at unrolling rolls of toilet paper and tearing each square into bits, banging on glass doors with wooden spoons, or sneezing food a good seven feet, please let me know. He can also say ‘OK!’ and give high 5s, so I’m thinking maybe something in the field of coaching?

Between all Pape’s crazy little antics, I did manage to get a batch of banana bread made. You can come home anytime now, Cheikh. We miss you.