Leaving a family that opened their doors to you and introduced you to their culture for 3 months is no easy task. I recently left my host family in village, meaning training is really coming to an end. Last Sunday, Kait (volunteer who stayed with my host family before me) came over and I tried to cook an ‘American’ meal with limited resources. So pasta it was with tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, onions and garlic. I think I slowly changed my host father’s conception of who cooks in the kitchen since he saw that I was slicing the tomatoes and boiling the noodles in the kitchen (with Kait’s help, of course!)…a man doing the work that traditional Burkinabè society dictates as a female task! In all, the mea was a way of saying thanks, and since sharing a meal with your loved ones is such a universal concept, I thought it was fitting. What I thought was interesting was that after the meal was done cooking, Kait ate with my host mom and I ate with my host dad…still divided by gender since in many traditional families, the two doesn’t eat with each other.
On Wednesday, we had our village closing ceremony and all our host families, the village chief, and others attended. All 4 of us in my village expressed our deep gratitude to our village for hosting us, but in particular, our host families for being our home base and rock during training. No matter how intense training got, I knew I’d be coming home to a family – my second family here in Burkina Faso.
All 4 of us with our LCF (Language and Cultural Facilitator) after our Closing-In Ceremony.
After when we returned to my family’s compound, I gave them some gifts: a Barack Obama tee for my host dad, a midnight blue-colored veil for my host mom, a Burkina soccer jersey for my host brother and a small bag of American candy for one of my host father’s Koran students who always helps me out.
It was really bittersweet but I know I’ll visit them at least once or twice before I end my 2 years of service here in Burkina Faso. C’est la vie!
My host dad, Mahmoudou and I during my last days in village. Gonna miss this guy!