Village life 101

How much can one fit in during a 2-week “village phase” in West Africa? My time from June 13-26 was spent finding out!

  1. Wake up every morning to the sounds of roosters crowing and donkeys braying
  2. Get a lesson in hand-washing laundry (from girls who must have wondered what kind of household I’d escaped from where I hadn’t learned such things)
  3. Learn how to grill peanuts

    Learn how to grill peanuts

  4. Play soccer in a dress with the local boys (and still manage to impress them with my “strong kick”)
  5. Carry a basin of water on my head
  6. Get an offer from a local woman to share an American husband (since polygamy is the norm here and she’d be happy to come back to America with me)
  7. Pound some millet

    Pound some millet

  8. Meet more women by the name of “Fatou” than I could count
  9. Start learning how all the Fatous are referred to in order to keep them straight
  10. Make fataya

    Make fataya

  11. “Help” chop firewood with a machete
  12. Chat with two co-wives in their living room as their Muslim husband bowed on his prayer mat out in the hallway
  13. Start responding to my village name “Kura Ndione”
  14. Learn which family line is the “joking cousin” of the Ndiones (Candum) and tell one of them that all they do is eat (what joking cousins are supposed to say to each other)
  15. See some really cute kids in a local preschool multi-lingual education program

    See some really cute kids in a local preschool multi-lingual education program

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  16. Receive my first visitor (who came of her own volition) and learn how to show culturally-appropriate hospitality: give a seat under the tree, offer a drink of bissaap juice, and sit together chatting about how hot it is

    Receive my first visitor (who came of her own volition) and learn how to show culturally-appropriate hospitality: give a seat under the tree, offer a drink of bissap juice, and sit together chatting about how hot it is

  17. Hold and be spit up on by a baby (twice)

    Hold and be spit up on by a baby (twice)

  18. Get another local baby to smile at the strange toubab lady

    Get another local baby to smile at the strange toubab lady

  19. Try making ataya enough times to get told that I do a poor job
  20. Get asked by curious girls about my hair and freckles
  21. Stay connected to the outside world for significant matters by attending political rallies (local elections were imminent) and watching World Cup matches in various households
  22. Receive the “husband and children blessing” from 2 local women and respond appropriately (Woman: “You’re 26? That’s plenty! May God give you a good husband and may you bear children until you’re a grandma.” Me: “Amin!”)
  23. Dance in my best version of the local style in front of the whole village, get told by countless gracious dwellers of said village (including the chief) that I can really dance, and probably give them something to talk and laugh about for years to come

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7 comments
  1. Chris Gassler said:

    Makes me want to come see you! Miss you bunches!  Anita asked about you this week on a SKYPE call…. Lori

    ________________________________

  2. William Johnson said:

    Love it!  So good to see the photos of you!  I’m sure there’s an even longer story for each photo. 

    xoxoxox,  Mom

    ________________________________

  3. Ruth Mitchell said:

    Is that your bottom with the blue jeans sticking out during the dancing photo! Looks like you had fun and learned alot. Will you be assigned a village area to work?

    • kyriaj said:

      Haha, no my bottom couldn’t manage to pull off a move like that one 🙂 I’m still not sure where I’ll be assigned, so it may be a village area… we’ll see!

  4. Liz Bennett said:

    Hi Kyria, It sounds like you are having a thorough integration into African culture. I wanted to let you know I have ordered the book by Mariama Ba that you recommended. August 12th, I will be going to Rwanda with a friend from church. We have a gal from our church who is there now – taking in girls who age out of an orphanage and fostering two young children. Cindy, who I am traveling with, has been twice before. She was involved in teaching the older girls sewing projects, giving them a skill  for when they have to move on. I will be assisting Cindy with teaching the sewing, so I am not just a traveling companion.  Our prayer is that God can use these hands and hearts to reach these gals with the saving grace offered by our heavenly Father.  Looking forward to hearing more about your travels, and the ministry God has called you to.  Blessings to you,

    Liz Bennett

  5. Ken W. Anderson said:

    Great update Kyria!  Thank you.

    Praying regularly for you.

    Dr. A.

      Ken W. Anderson  (Breeks 56-59, Hebron 60, Lushington 61-68)

  6. You look absolutely radiant! Looks like you’ve found your niche! Can’t wait to see the dance..lol! Open mike night someday maybe? Miss you! Love you! God bless you and the work you are doing!

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