I am not a morning person by any stretch. Just ask my husband. Or my son. (“Mama, what wrong with your face? You need coffee?”)

But there is something incredible about 5:30am in Senegal.

Three o’clock in the morning is a dark hour, physically and spiritually. Having had two babies here in Senegal, I’ve spent my share (and maybe yours too) of time awake and pacing at 3am, looking over the neighborhood from our balcony. There’s a heaviness I can feel in my soul and I can taste the darkness. It suffocates me. It’s an hour that lasts so long with its inescapable evil hanging in the air.

But then 5:30am comes. Before the first rays of sun change the city’s physical appearance, the creepy stillness changes to a calm one. A brief moment when everything seems at peace, jamm rekk. One by one, the mosques wake up and call gently for people to pray – and I do. The sweet, gentle smell of bread baking in the boulangeries floats in. A solitary rooster crows in the distance. The soft sounds of someone sweeping their courtyard (yes, before the sun is even up) lull me into thinking I want to go back to sleep.

But I fight it so that I can savor this perfect moment that comes every morning in Senegal. Jamm rekk. Peace only.

Psalm 30:50 …weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning.