By Jack Butcher

I was skeptical about the village at first. It certainly wasn’t my suburban home. After spending a little time in Kekuota’s home I realized that the people of the village are happy even though they don’t have a lot of material things, or electricity. It’s not that they just don’t have iPhones, but they don’t have the things that I use on daily basis, like lights, a washing machine, but they are happy. Happier than I am.

Just as important as the happiness that I observed in the village, I also had a close encounter with their hospitality. I took a tumble that that landed me in the local health clinic. The care that I was given was kind and gentle. I felt like I was welcomed in even though I am an outsider. When I returned to Kekuota’s compound I experienced love and compassion. Kekuota bathed me with the kind of care usually reserved for a small child. He felt the responsibility to provide the care for me and to me that is a good example of hospitality.

I realize now after spending time in the village of Niognani that it’s possible to be skeptical about the wrong things. It’s easy to see the differences and not to look for the things that I found. I didn’t even have to look that hard to discover that the people of the village live happy lives and shared much more than than the power that comes with charging my phone, they shared their care and concern for me and the rest of us, and that is something much more powerful.

3 responses to “Misplaced Skepticism”

  1. jbyersccs Avatar

    Jack, I’m so glad you are on this perspective-changing tour and taking in the great lessons of hospitality, humanity and happiness. May these experiences enrich your own life not just while you are there, but for many days to come. Memorable persons like Kekuota have a lot to teach us with their dignity, unselfishness, and steadfast commitment to their communities. “How to live a good and noble life”–witnessed by you in real time. Safe travels!

  2. Cary Butcher Avatar
    Cary Butcher

    What a wonderful, enriching life experience you have had in Senegal. It seems as though you have seen, made and felt many important things in life…connections, relationships, love and happiness. You know that happiness is always all around us- it is just a matter of learning to connect to it and allowing it to flow through that can be difficult. I believe that meeting the wonderful people of Senegal have taught you a few lessons on how to connect to happiness and feel its goodness. Treasure your remaining time in Senegal (Although you may be on the return plane as I write this!) Dad and I are very proud of you.
    Love, Mom

  3. Guy Butcher Avatar
    Guy Butcher

    It is so wonderful to see you reflect on your Senegal experience in a way that can influence you for the rest of your life! Sometimes our culture gets caught up in the material things and loses sight of the little things that bring true happiness. Finding friendship, kindness and Love brings Joy and that is what it’s all about. I am so happy that you had a chance to experience the soul of another culture and I hope that you will carry that with you always!
    Love, Dad

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