I have had the fortune to spend the holidays settling into my hut in the village of Ngianda. There has been so much to do: cleaning, greeting, exploring, practicing language and homemaking to name a few activities. On top of these I have been landscaping my backyard to create a verdant area around my kitchen and bathroom. Already cucumbers, green peppers and carrots are sprouting in my garden, shaded by banana and papaya trees.
There is also much to see. I have been recently exploring the streets of Ngianda, where I always meet new and interesting people. Each day, I aim to go down a street I haven’t visited before. Everyone is eager find out who I am, where I live, and to teach me the names of everything in sight. My family and neighbors in particular have been incredible. They correct my poor speech, tour me around the village and even adjust my water basin on my head.
After a calm News Years spent talking to my family, I have decided on three New Years Resolutions to guide my first year of service. They are to be at home, to learn Seereer, and be the best I can.
Resolution 1: Be at Home
First, I want to be at home in my community. I will make my hut to be a place where I am excited to live by decorating it and growing foods that I love to eat. I will become a part of my family by spending time with them and attending events, such as wrestling matches, with them. Finally, I will become a part of my community by greeting folks and talking to them while going about my day.
Resolution 2: Learn Seereer
Second, I want to gain basic mastery of the Seereer language. To me, this means I will be able to converse with anyone I speak to and understand nearly everything that is being said to me.
To accomplish this, I will hire a tutor and work with them to improve my skills. Each day I will talk with my family and friends, asking them to correct me and learning from my mistakes. Finally, I will put in at least 30 minutes of dedicated study time each day to practice.
Resolution 3: Be the Best I Can
Finally, I want to push myself to be the best I can. For me this means exercising regularly, making healthy food choices, and pushing myself to be the Volunteer my village hopes I will be.