Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Settling into our host homes

Two weeks into the first ICS cohort with AML, everything is new and exciting as the team are getting to know each other and the AML community. But lets not forget about the host homes! Im sure you are wondering: what is it really like to live in a Burkina Faso host home?

I was too, even after all the research and training I received I still didnt know what to expect! I have learnt that the best way to prepare is to come with an open mind, as all host homes are different. When I first arrived, I really noticed the difference from my home back in England, everything felt new and bizarre but now it just feels normal. It has truly turned into our home. The host home has been one of the highlights and a significant aspect of making me feel part of the local community.

The family I have been placed with are great! Everybody is so welcoming and are genuinely happy to have my counterpart and me living with them. Their main language is Mooré (the local tribal language) as well as a small amount of French, but no English! As you can imagine, communicating can be difficult so it’s lots of hand gestures and learning the language! However my counterpart does a remarkable job of translating for me!

My host pappa is a builder, he drives a moped and has two wives. He is always smiling, always buying presents and is always so happy to see me! His first wife is my main mamma She has her own small shop outside of the compound we live in. She sells cigarettes, oil, sweets, sachets of water, mens t-shits, and she also makes a traditional drink called Bissap and these gorgeous balls of cake that are very addictive! She makes our breakfast every morning, tea every night and on weekend she makes lunch as well!

 My other mamma has a place for a stall at the market which is every three days. Here she sells bread, onions, nuts, garlic and other seasonal produce. There are five children who live in the house, however there are usually at least ten around the house is always filled with people!

Everyone lives in the same compound there is a house for the papa, mamma, their son, his wife and the second mamma. There is a shared basic toilet and place for a bucket shower. Everybody contributes to daily chores and a lot is expected from children of a young age. 

Living alongside a Burkinabe family and in their home has really made me appreciate the lifestyle I have in England. The next time I complain about doing my washing in the UK Im going to kick myself and think about every Sunday morning in Burkina Faso hand washing clothes and fetching water. I still have a lot to learn about the culture here but so far, Ive learnt that life is hard here but despite this, everyone is still so happy and joyful!

By April Gladrey 

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