Many of you that are runners are familiar with this term. For the rest of us, myself included, let me explain a little bit. I have heard that when running in a marathon, after a certain amount of time you hit "the wall" and your body gets VERY tired and sometimes it can be so bad that you want to stop before you are finished. You have to determine to push yourself and keep going and most times as you clear the wall, you feel relieved that you do. Living overseas can be the same way sometimes as a "clash of cultures" start to take place, even if you have been in that culture before.
We have lived here in Senegal before and knew about the culture and what to expect and we also knew about THE WALL! Unfortunately, knowing things only helps to a certain extent when the wall comes at you like a ton of bricks, pardon the pun. This cultural wall tends to hit somewhere between the 6th and 10th month in a culture that is not your own, and yes, you guessed it, we are in our 6th month here. While things have been generally good, and we are making some good strides here with our language, and have our previous language to fall back on when we need to, are making some good friends and have gained some amazing team-mates/friends through our company, THE WALL has hit us still the same.
I will not go into a negative rant at this point, but suffice it to say that between things in the culture, language challenges, working through a few team things, learning to live with a 6yr old and a 4yr old (who are ALWAYS around), Spiritual battles, the heat, missing friends and family back in the States (you will notice I did not say back home - we DO feel like this is home), the heat, electricity issues, dealing with policy changes that are different than expected/during our last term here, the heat, communication issues and a few other things, the wall is here. We are learning to persevere through most of these things, although the heat and power cuts can be difficult at times, the Father is good and has been helping us get through them.
We have longed for a time of refreshing and rest, and life can be tough sometimes here, and that has not been afforded us just yet due to a variety of reasons. We are learning to take some day breaks and are planning a trip to the capital for a week for our anniversary. Part of that time I will try to use as a sort of Spiritual retreat and plan on having a REAL date with my wife and take the kids to the beach a day or two. Please continue to lift us up as we face this wall and find other creative ways to deal with some of these issues.
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