Monday, May 6, 2013

What I Do

"If you couldn't answer with your job, 
how would you answer the question 'what do you do?'"

Welcoming committee at the airport in Douala, Cameroon.

I eat Senegalese lunchrice and fish (cost $1) at 3pmon a console in an electrical supply store, alongside the store employees.

I befriend bakery workers across West Africa, fielding enquiries that sometimes go like this:
1) What's with Michael Jackson??? Why did he want to turn white???
2) Explain to me the drug trade with South America. How do they get past the metal detectors at the border??
3) Why do Americans get so many hideous tattoos all over their bodies?
4) Are karate/martial arts popular in America?
I translate a technical visit in a meat factory in Burkina Faso, where I have the great pleasure of learning how sausages are made in the third world. I have no choice but to taste the finished product.

I guide African visitors through the maze of stores like Target and Best Buy, advising on the benefits of Andorid versus Apple tablets, on shoe sizes for children back home.

I respond that "No, I'm not lonely in my hotel room tonight. Thank you very much."

I navigate corners of the world I never imagined visiting in this lifetime, alone.

Sometimes I am pushed to the edge of my tolerance and adaptability as I navigate foreign business practices and environments.

And yet I am repeatedly struck by the universality of hospitality, openness, and goodwill across all cultures.

I dream of starting my own business in an industry about which I'm truly passionate... design, decor, human rights, female empowerment.

I dream of pursuing my vision in this wild world where I thrive on teranga*, sensory stimulation, and the sea breeze.

*Teranga is the cornerstone of Senegalese culture, a principle rooted in hospitality and sharing.

This post was written as part of the Blog Every Day in May Challenge (2013).


  1. This is fantastic! I love how unique you are and I've always wanted to travel more of the world...this makes me want to even more! I'm a new follower :)

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback, and for stopping by :) Traveling is definitely one of my greatest loves, worth the sacrifice and prioritizing to make it happen! I look forward to checking out your blog too... so happy to be meeting people through this challenge :)


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