Another New Beginning

So exactly 6 months ago, on March 26, 2017 I got on a plane and moved to Madagascar. Yep, I probably moved as far away as possible. Moving here was definitely not an easy decision. It was a decision that was full of emotions, doubts, fears, and just a little bit of hope. And to be honest, as I was making this decision and up until I submitted my resignation letter, I kept hoping that someone ( and I mean anyone) would ask me to stay. I needed a reason to stay but no one gave me that reason. Everyone told me ( with the exception of my Dad as he said I should finish my assignment in Senegal and then move back to the US to get married), that it was a great opportunity. It was one of those steps you have to take in your career before you end up in your dream job, dream position and spend the next twenty years of your life working for same company.

So, I left.Was the lack of a reason to stay a good enough reason to leave? I do not know but I do believe when you come across an opportunity whether or not it is something you sought, you have to say yes. I unfortunately am not yet at that point in my life when I can turn down these type of opportunities because I am scared. Sure, I have been 28 for the last 4 years and I do think about settling down, getting married and starting a family but I was no where near that in Senegal. The guy I was dating in Senegal did not exactly ask me to stay but said if I left he would try to join me.

Anyways, I landed (as my Naija peeps would say) in Antananarivo. And let me say, my first impression were not 100% great. I spent probably an hour in the immigration line and the drive from the airport to my hotel made me ask myself “what have I done”. Basically Antananarivo is the least developed capital city I have ever been to and I was a bit shocked.  Don’t get me wrong there were paved roads but the main roads that take us into the city have rice paddies on either side! OK, let me not exaggerate, there are plenty of brick houses, cobbled roads in city centre and the occasional tall building but it is still quiet different from my beloved West Africa.

So here I am, rice paddies and all on another new adventure seizing an opportunity and hoping for the best. Worst case scenario, I can be that person you know that lived in Madagascar. More to come on my adventures!





S and I shared an office. S is a 57 year-old married man with one child in university and apparently an imam and an el hadj (however he has never been to Mecca). I indirectly managed S but being the friendly person I am, I do not throw the boss card around. Given that I was going to be sharing an office with S for 2 years, I tried to develop a friendly relationship. General pleasantries, ask about his family, occasionally bitch about work stuff together, etc. If I brought some yummy baked goods to work, I would offer him one etc. That was the extent of our friendship. At no point did I indicate to S that we should hang out outside work. I was pretty sure that we had nothing in common.

As the weeks passed, I noticed once in a while S would text to wish me a happy holiday, say he is coming in late or when I was not in the office text to ask if I was ok. (8-|). Nothing creepy just a “concerned” co-worker ( so I thought). Eventually, S and I traveled to a regional office together and ate every meal together. During this trip, he proceeded to share his stories from his youth about hooking up with all these different women including rich women (8-|) before he got married. All unsolicited information but enough to make me feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, when uncomfortable, I usually smile awkwardly and don’t say much. The trip ended and over the weekend he texted to say he hopes and I was feeling better ( I got sick). To me he was becoming an overly-concerned co-worker but I tried to manage the situation by ignoring non-work related texts and taking my friendliness down by several notches.

S noticed this and I thought he would get the hint. Unfortunately he did not and chose to bring it up when I asked him why he had not done some work that he was supposed to do. S gave me some reason and then proceeded to ask aggressively if we had a problem because he noticed that I did not reply his Happy Easter text and some other text. I proceeded to say that I forgot and in general, I don’t really respond to texts unless they are work related. Also as a reminder we are co-workers and nothing else. Just co-workers so there is no need to be texting for non-work related stuff and asking me why I didn’t reply. I also kinda reminded him that I indirectly manage him so that respect is required. He quickly proceeded to say ” you think I am trying to court you? I am a married man who chose monogamy. If I have offended you, I apologize”. Apology accepted and this was the end or so I thought.

Since this incident, every 2 – 3 months S would decide that there was some sort of problem. He would aggressively try to call me out in a meeting, attempt to embarrass me while I  was giving a presentation or challenge my authority. He even once called a meeting with the Project Director to say that he wanted us to be friends. Which frankly was very odd and the PD and I were both perplexed.  Very annoyed by this, I calmly stated that I choose my friends and unless this is a work-related issue, I do not really care. A grown-ass 57 year old man acting like an insolent 5 year was just weird and I did exactly want you do with little children throwing tantrums, you ignore!

Ignoring worked well and I was convinced it was successful until, the project retreat and about 2 weeks before my departure when a coworker in one of the regional offices tells me that went around the office in Dakar telling anyone that would listen “his side of the story”. What story? I asked. Well, S believed that the reason no one liked him in the office was because I told everybody that he was a dirty old pervert hitting on me when he was just being friendly. He apparently even told his former supervisor in a regional office and was sobbing down the phone. Obviously people were confused by “his side of the story” because I hadn’t said anything, I clearly had moved on and by him putting his dumb ass on display like that, he was telling everybody that he was indeed hitting on me and I called him out on it. I was shocked to hear this and all I could say was WOW. Apparently at first, some people may have believed him but when he decided to write some weird email (on the group email chain) about always considering me to be a sister and asking for my forgiveness rather than wishing me good luck when my resignation was announced, no one believed him. To sum it up, someone’s reaction to his email was to say “mais, il est con (he is an asshole)“. And I agree!