data Bisbocci Abroad: The Color Palette

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Color Palette

              I have now lived in Onantsi for exactly two weeks and, so far, I have felt just about every emotion possible. As a new teacher, living in a new country where it is regularly more than 100 degrees outside, it is easy to forget how lucky I am to call this beautiful place home. I regularly find myself worrying about lesson plans, technological difficulties in the computer lab and the best solution to ward off the tons of insects that find their way into my room every night. These concerns consume my thoughts during much of the day and I often have to remind myself to sit back and relish my surroundings.

           The simplicity of life in Onantsi can be frustrating, but it can also be serenely beautiful. Sometimes, I will sit outside my house and simply watch the day unfold. I wave at the schoolchildren as they pass by my house on the way from school to their homesteads and greet the cattle herders as they lead their animals in search of greener pastures. When I see a group of thirty cows and twenty goats being chased past my house by a tiny boy waving his stick, I never fail to laugh out loud.
           It is disorienting to go from a place that prides itself in success, efficiency and progress, to a place where time seems to virtually stand still. After 22 years of living in America, I have to constantly remind myself that I am not merely living out an extended dream.

          Since arriving in Onantsi, I have come to appreciate the evenings as my favorite time of day. Evenings are when I often gather my thoughts and begin to piece together my fragmented emotions. It is difficult not to feel inspired and clear-minded when the sun dips low on the horizon and paints the sky in vivid colors, or when the sweltering heat gives way to a light, cool breeze.
             On most evenings, I will sit at my doorstep and savor the disappearance of the sun, staring out into the wide expanse of nothingness. While the sun sets, the colors are so brilliant and vivid that, in every direction, the sky explodes in a palette of fiery hues. Sometimes I can even see the reds and oranges reflected in the bright white sand.
            The sand here seems to reflect everything. It holds the colors of the sky and changes nearly every hour. Sometimes I look out my window and see the world in blues and greens and other times I see it in yellows and oranges. The colors in the sky bounce off of the sand and, when it rains, reflect off the water in a magical way.
            A few days ago, after a brief storm, I walked outside to see that pools of water had collected around my house. I stood by the water for a while, taking pictures and watching the reflections change from soft pink to deep orange to black.

Sunset Reflections
Sunset Reflections
          It is these types of moments that make me realize how lucky I am. They help me through days in which frustrations at school or fatigue from the heat begin to temper with my mood. Though I know it sounds cliché, these wonderful evenings make me realize the extent to which it really is the smallest things in life that can truly make us happy.


  1. Erika...your blogs are so descriptive and my dear have a gift! Looking forward to visiting you and experiencing some of the wonders of Africa. Love you so much...Zia

  2. What an amazing experience. Enjoy every minute of it! And keep posting photos . . .