The View From Here
We are Shawn and Jenn DeAtley in Senegal, Africa.


Hey all, just wanted to let you know that we have ‘moved’ (thankfully, for once, WE haven’t moved, it’s  just our website that has moved…for now!) Check us out at WOW, we’re a ‘.com’ now. How cool is that? Thanks, Norm Copeland, for your help!


Our host church here in Dakar is always brainstorming of ways to REACH OUT to the community around us.

 Their most recent idea is to have a ‘summer hang out’ for kids/teens in a nearby neighborhood {here kids don’t go back to school until October}. The idea is to meet once a week {Saturday afternoons, maybe?} and play Scrabble {people LOVE that game here}, make and drink tea, and just talk and get to know people

As time goes on and relationships are built and strengthened, who knows what it could turn into down the road? We’re excited to be a part of the “brainstorming team”- and we’ll fill you in as things unfold!

Meanwhile, we better brush up on that French vocab for future tournaments!



NEVER a dull moment at the market. Sheep head, anyone?

Shawn talking to his Grandma.
Catching up with the family via webcam.
Women lined up selling fish at the market.

Going out for dinner with our pastor/host family!

Greetings from Senegal!

Hey friends! How’s your summer? Are you staying cool by that air conditioning? Trips to the market, fixing our car, spending time with our hosts, watching local wrestlers on TV with neighbors, visiting the eye DR {praise God, Jenn’s eye is back to normal}, potlucks with new missionaries,  planning the next two months, thinking about/arranging a future home assignment {details to come}, and life in general have kept us booked these past few days! We PRAISE God for being there for us everyday, for loving us, redeeming us, and giving us the privilege to serve him. 

Sweating for Jesus,

Shawn and Jenn 




Yesterday was just an average day, but average day after average makes up our life, does it not?

I woke up around 7:30, thinking first about my eye, and wondering if it had improved since my whole painful “eye dilemma”. I took a shower and hustled around before Rachel arrived for our French class at 8:30 am. Shawn and I kiss good morning and ask how the other person slept. It often goes a little something like this:

Shawn: Good Morning.

Me: You sleep good?

Shawn: Yeah, I guess so.

Me: Well, if you guess so, that means you didn’t wake up and you must have slept well!


Rachel arrived and I was just not interested in putting forth much effort, to be honest. Maybe it was because it was a Friday and I was ready for a break from classes, or maybe I was just being lazy. Or maybe the routine is growing old.

Shawn finished making some coffee (delicious and sensual smelling Italian Roast Starbucks from Revolution) and we began our class.

We watched “Four Feathers” with no sound. We took turns describing in detail what was happening, what we saw, what people were doing and so forth. It was good practice. We recorded Rachel so that one day we can go back and have a listening collection. It’s good to talk and practice what we know, but sometimes it’s just not easy to be corrected day after day. Granted, that’s how we learn! Learning another language truly is interesting and challenging work. We have to be willing to be corrected and we have to remember that language is simply communicating thoughts and ideas. If we want to be effective communicators, we have to be open to correction!

After class Rachel left and we took full advantage of this “on again, off again” relationship with our electricity. Shawn wrote some important e-mails, we chatted with the DeAtley family on Skype, and we crossed off some of the other “to-do’s” on the list. It was a hot, sunny, humid day. The sun was too much for my eye, so I stayed in for most of the day.

I wanted to go and buy some fabric so that I could have some knee-length, “cooler” skirts made. It didn’t happen, maybe another day.

That evening we went out to Pizza Inn (a gas station/convenient store that has some restaurants in it) and we enjoyed a Friday night together. Although, because we chose to sit outside for the breeze, we also ended up breathing in the heavy smog from all that traffic! C’est la vie.

The sky was mustering up a big rain storm, or so we thought. It was turning black and blue and lightning was dancing across the blackened sky.

We finished our pizza and walked to our car, only to stop and look at a stack of DVD’s a man was selling. He was also selling sandals, so I tried some on. I told him what my final price was (I offered him 2,000cfa and he started at 5,000cfa) and he said that my price was way too low for him. It’s stressful even trying to talk to the guy because a small crowd of beggars gathers around, holding out their hands for a monetary gift. We tell them we’re sorry but not today, maybe next time (a phrase that we were taught to use, and thankfully, it usually works). We walk to the car, leaving the shoe/DVD guy behind, knowing that he will catch up to us, ready to accept our previously “too low” final offer. Sure enough, he appears beside the car window, telling me to pick the size I want. Of course, the beggar women (nicely dressed, I might add) are also there, with their hands still in my face asking for money or food. I try on the shoes one more time inside the car, and slide the man my money as we back up to leave. The women are still touching our car, asking for something, anything before we leave. They would simply not take “no” for an answer. When they see that we’re really not going to give them something, they walk away talking amongst themselves in Wolof. I can’t be bothered by what they might be saying about me because I am reminded in that moment that my acceptance doesn’t come from outward gestures, or from what others think of me, but that it comes from God, and God alone.

We drive home and I receive a call from Adja and she wonders where I’ve been, and we catch up on the phone. We just can’t say enough about the importance of relationships in Africa. Even if it’s just a 30 second call, it means you thought of them. She tells me that there isn’t any electricity in our neighborhood, so I don’t need to rush home from wherever I am. As we get closer to our neighborhood, we see the darkness from a distance. We see the lightning over our dark neighborhood; I tell Shawn that it’s romantic. He tells me that I’m romantic and we both laugh at the cheesy, but sweet comment.

Once inside the house, there isn’t much to do without power. So we hang out and listen to music and write out some questions, thoughts, and ideas for our next phase of ministry.

Then we decide to watch a movie. We agree that since it’s the weekend, we will watch the movie in English. It’s nice to be at a place where we can now decide what language we want to watch the movie in.

We watch a sad movie about a boy who is dying of cancer and he has one last wish. The movie makes me sad to think about Shawn dying some day. It’s true; we’re all dying, everyday. Half way through the movie, the power comes back on and we get a sudden burst of joy in that small moment. As I always say, as soon as something is taken away from you (no matter how big or small it may be) you appreciate it that much more, and the next time around, if you’re lucky enough to have it back again, you won’t take it for granted.

It was time for bed, so we did our nightly routine of teeth brushing and turning off lights and got into bed. The lightning was still flashing across the sky, but still no rain. What a letdown! 20 minutes or so later, I realized that a mosquito had bit my butt. Lots of fat in that area, I’m sure he got full fast, haha. I jumped up to try to hunt him down, but to no avail, I couldn’t find him. I decided to forget about it and go back to sleep. Dang mosquito, 20 minutes or so later, I realized he had bit my shoulder! Once again, I jumped up and did a quick search. In Guinea it was so much easier to track them down because they were inside the net. Here, although we rarely have them in our house (thank God), when we do have one, we have to search the whole room. That’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Back to sleep I go. This time I woke myself up scratching away at my thumb, of all places and jumped up to realize that there was no power and that I couldn’t turn the light on to hunt this blood-sucker down. I grabbed the flashlight thinking that now I would never find him, and there he was: perched on the wall above Shawn’s sleeping head. So I creeped in slowly and SMASH he was dead. There was even a victorious blood stain on the wall to prove it. It was harder to fall back asleep without our fan, but at least I didn’t have to worry about either of us being bitten alive by a potential malaria carrying insect.

And with that, the day had come to an end.



We were walking through a store downtown the other day and we came upon a collection of coat racks. So, here’s the question of the day:

Who needs a coat rack in AFRICA?!


We saw the eye DR today and he said that Jenn's eye is improving. PTL. Her eye is still a little sore and sensitive to light.

The new baby at our church.

We're not fans of cars with LOUD speakers on them.

What do you do when you’re stuck in traffic? We take pics of the market outside the window.

 Hey friends. We hope that you had a great weekend and that your week is off to a good start. We actually (don’t hate us) love Monday’s because the’re our “jour du repos” {free day/day of rest}. No class, no scheduled activities… and we’re ok with that! Enjoy this random post.


 Do you remember these two lovely faces? If you don’t, don’t feel bad, everyone looked the same to us too, when we first moved to Africa. Anyhow, these faces are Mariama and Maman- our host family/neighbors from Guinea. It was hard to leave them when we moved to Senegal, and we told them that our doors are always open (be careful who you say that too, haha) if they would ever want to come and visit. WELL…Mariama called last month to tell us that she was sending Maman (she’s about 9 years old) up to Dakar to spend the summer with us, her “white parents”. We were super excited. Mariama called back this week to tell us that the plan was still on and that now she, Maman, and her teenage son Lucien will be coming to visit! She said that after a month she and her son will return to Conakry and leave Maman here with us for the remainder of the summer. Sounds like a blast to see them again, but a bit overwhelming as we think through the details. Our apartment is built for two (small!) and Maman will be just fine sleeping on our couch, we just need to figure out the best place for the other two. Shawn has been running around like a mad man trying to figure out what our options are. Thankfully, it’s not uncommon for people to rent a room for a month or two. We’ll see what comes of it. They called yesterday to say that they are leaving in a day or two, and they are coming by taxi (which is a looong 3 day trip), so we are tentatively expecting them this weekend! Yikes! Who’s going to cook for them?! Hopefully all of those details will work themselves out. Shawn talked to a Senegalese man who works at our mission base, and he said it would be no prob for them to rent a room from his family for a month, and that they could pull their $ together to buy and prepare meals. Sounds good to me! Maybe I’ll move in too, ha. Either way, this will be an interesting {and fun} experience for us!!


Jenn's eye is red and, well, you wouldn't really want to see it anyway. So, here's a googled eye instead!

Jenn has been having an awful past few days with her left eye. Long story short, we found an eye DR in our neighborhood and he said that she has a cut in her eye (OUCH is right) and gave us three prescriptions for eye drops. Praying they heal the redness, and irritated eye. It’s no fun when every blink is painful! Thanking God for a DR nearby.

Shawn's making breakfast for dinner!


“Once we had no delight in God, and Christ was just a vague, historical figure. What we enjoyed was food and friendships and productivity and investments and vacations and hobbies and games and reading and shopping and sex and sports and art and TV and travel…but not God. He was an idea- even a good one- and a topic for discussion; but he was not a treasure of delight. Christ died to give us our heart’s desire: God.”

Desiring God- John Piper