I remember when Pape was about two weeks old and I was an exhausted, clueless, destroyed mess. A sweet grandmotherly woman looked at the screaming baby I was holding and calmly patted his back, “Don’t worry. It does get easier.”

And it did.

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Over the next two months, many new arrivals will land at Dakar’s airport and take their first steps into their new home. Just like all of us who have been-there-done-that, there will be times that you will feel like an exhausted, clueless, destroyed mess as you transition and adjust.

Sometimes it will be the big things: power and water cuts (at the same time, woohoo!), intense heat and humidity, getting ripped off royally, dust storms or flooded roads, talibé boys on every corner … And other times it will be an accumulation of little things that snow dust-ball into more than you feel you can handle: crazy taxi rides, “Toubab! Toubab!”, ants on your toothpaste, finding out you’re stuck because you haven’t bribed, mold on everything in your closet, dust on everything everything…

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But it does get easier.

With time you will learn where and how to connect with others walking a similar road. You will find a spot that you can make your own to escape and relax. You will drop your jaw over the kindness and generosity you experience and see around you. You will find a restaurant dish you love and a delivery guy who knows how to get it you. You will hear your child say something (maybe in another language) that shows you how incredible their worldview is. You will find yourself in a moment that is so amazing and awe-inspiring that you realized how blessed we are to get to call Senegal home.

These things take trial and error, and time. But I promise, it does get easier.

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