Hi, I’m Jenilee Goodwin, a runner, writer, lover of books and a huge coffee fan. I’m a mom to three rambunctious, super fun girls and wife to an adventurous, always interesting, outdoorsy guy. My family lives in West Africa where the dust and humidity make life interesting! I love all things techy and you can always find me around the web connecting others with my overseas life.
This is every morning. I crave this time alone. Time to write, focus and prep for the day. And that pink wrap under my laptop? That is what I like to call “shock protection” because electricity is always kinda crazy on this side of the sea! If there isn’t anything under my laptop, I get a shock every time I touch it. Talk about a rude awakening!
You know you love to run when you’re willing to brave the heat, humidity and the boredom of a treadmill to get a few miles in. The necessity of staying healthy and burning off stress make each run incredibly important to me. Precious time to process, think and just go.
Every Sunday and Thursday night, my friend Ida sends me a text asking what produce I need. Then, she shows up early the next day with my requests! With my CFA (local money) in hand, I chat with her while buying apples, tomatoes, oranges or lettuce. This is one of the things I love about living overseas.
Next up! My egg guy comes with fresh eggs. For about $5 I get 30 eggs delivered to our door.
And… laundry. This never-ending task requires much thought and careful planning. I have to figure in humidity, how much sunlight is left in the day, how many loads will dry, when we need to wear the clothing again and how long it has sat in a basket before it is able to be worn. The risk of mango worms is ever present on my mind… so we wait a long time before re-wearing anything!
We’ve lived in this house for a full year and I’m just now starting the process of painting and decorating. This is my first completed project… our entryway. Everything is locally made or found in a container store (a store that has random items shipped in from across the globe.) I believe these pillows were on display at a Lowes somewhere and somehow ended up in a West African container store! Now, they rest beautifully on a bench that our woodworker made from my printed Pinterest picture.
I’m learning to make most everything from scratch. Pre-packaged foods are extremely expensive so we’ve begun making things on our own. We make our own bread from a sourdough starter, all our own baked goods, as well as tortilla shells, soft pretzels, and whatever else we decide we are hungry for at the time! In this picture, I was making frosting. But the humidity got to my powdered sugar, causing it to get clumpy and hard — which is quite difficult to measure. Ah, life in rainy season…
These are called serpillieres, or mop cloths. They are used everywhere for dusting, mopping, wiping off feet, cleaning up rain water, washing tile and anything else you could think of. We are now the proud owners of about 10 of these and they get used daily.
All the roads around our house are curvy, dirt paths. People, animals, piles of cement, trash, and horse carts often fill the roads and make travel interesting. We honk our horn to make sure the path is clear and to alert any and all that we are coming through.
I marvel at my closet these days. A beautiful mix of maxi skirts from Target, a few dressy items from France and now gorgeous West African waxprint fill the space. Colors, places, memories and people are represented here.
Oh, this big gate. This is our garage door of sorts. Latches, locks and bolts keep it closed until we need to open it again or drive our truck through. I’m just tall enough to reach the top pull-bar.
And sometimes when the truck pulls in, there is a surprise inside. This time, there was a chicken. A live chicken to make my girls smile and the dog go crazy. Happy faces all around.
We ended this particular day with a sweet birthday party for our guard. He was turning 33 and he had never before had a cake or a present or a party. Ever. He isn’t even sure that day is his birthday. His village didn’t keep birth records. But it was the date on his identity papers so that is the day we gave him his first birthday party. The cake with chocolate frosting was a treat for him to share with his friends (mostly the other guards along our road.) The tears in his eyes made the whole powdered sugar fiasco completely worth it.