There’s a lot that you are wisely left in the dark about when you sign up to go on STINT. For instance, when I signed that dotted line I hadn’t the slightest idea that I would become intimately acquainted with my teammate’s underwear situations over the course my year in Dakar. [It’s true. The laundry line is right outside of my window-and my only comment is that men really ought to stop wearing Garfield boxers after middle school.] You are blissfully unaware of the fact that during the course of your STINT year, at times you will go so long without showering that your Mother will start to believe you’re starring in an independent film. The recruiters never tell you that you’ll learn to eat goat testicles with a charming smile, make your own candles when the power fizzles out again, or become thoroughly familiar with a myriad of home remedies designed to treat a host of stomach maladies that you ought to profusely thank me for not detailing here.
There, I said it. And it’s true-being on STINT is something like having three husbands. Thus far, I think it’s rather brilliant-I mean, if one can’t fix it, chances are another one can! There’s always someone to fix the broken door, walk me home, throw dinner on the grill, or pick up eggs on their way home from work. This clearly sets wildly unrealistic expectations for my pitiable future husband, should I ever marry.
In all seriousness, Christy and I have been exceedingly spoiled all year by three men that have stepped into the place that our brothers, Dads, and friends back home used to fill. It’s incredibly endearing, because none of those men signed up for that when they agreed to move to Africa-but not one of them has ever complained. And goodness
knows, they probably ought to!
Christy and I have lived together for three years now, meticulously crafting our fool-proof method for dealing with emergencies: pretend there isn’t one. You might be flabbergasted at just how well this works! Imagine with me for a moment, that the one piece of furniture in your apartment-your couch- had just broken. Now, apparently, ordinary people are in the habit of repairing critical things when they break-but not so for Christy and I! If the couch breaks or a light bulb burns out or the electricity blows, we like to cheerfully sit helplessly in total darkness, on the floor, until help [read: one of the boys] arrives. If we were gazelles, we would indisputably be the first two eaten at the watering hole-we simply live our lives delicately tiptoeing AROUND problems as opposed to fixing them.
Cue Ben, Cash and Dayton [who, bless him, fixed the couch today.] I haven’t taken out my trash in months-every day I set it outside of my front door, and then it in an enchanted flurry of wonderful, it magically disappears. If I ever let dishes stack up in my sink, Ben walks in and does them for me. If my door breaks [as it has a tendency of doing], Cash takes it off the hinges and fiddles with it until it’s fixed. If we’re out of a critical ingredient for dinner [or simply just food in general], Dayton runs to the market. Those sweet boys make us dinner almost every evening, never allow us to step foot outside at night without them, bring home cream puffs when I’m in desperate need of chocolate, take me out for coffee when I need to get away, and they’ve even thrown us parties before when they’ve sensed that we were having a rough week. We joke that they’re enablers-and indeed they are, but Christy and I will both tell you that they have made all the difference in our year in Dakar. I always feel safe and cared for by the three selfless men that God sent to Senegal with me this year. So thanks, boys, for stepping into a job that you don’t get paid for, and consistently putting Christy and I before yourselves. Nous sommes Pamoja.