Krista - Using the Force!
Star Wars has been on my mind a bit lately as “force” is part of the French vocabulary (I hear the next Star Wars movie is coming out in theaters soon—No spoilers, please!). In French, “la force” means strength. Daily life requires brute strength, simply in meal preparation, washing clothes, and carrying buckets of water. Candidly, I don’t have that kind of strength, so I find myself in a position a lot like that of the young padawan learner who is also learning how to use the force. But I digress... below is a description (with pictures!) of a typical day for me at the home.
Simonne, my 18-year-old host sister, and I begin each day together at 5:30 am. It is dark, and the mornings lately have been a bit chilly. The morning routine includes sweeping and mopping the house, sweeping the courtyard, and heating up water over a charcoal fire. I have come to like this calm morning time; the air is cool, and the sky slowly begins to lighten. By the time we finish, the rest of the family is busy in their own morning routine. Both of my host parents work, and all my siblings go to school, although each day their school routines differ. It is during this time I read, journal, and then get ready for the day. Between 8-10 am is my time to accomplish my own personal tasks: study French, walk to the tailor or to the market, or visit a neighbor.
This is the broom we use to sweep the courtyard and house.
Between 10-10:30 am it is time to begin preparing lunch. The food is most often rice and sauce. Sauces are made from grinding tomatoes, onions, green onions, and garlic and then boiling it with various types of leaves, bouillon cubes, and fish.
The family returns home for lunch, and we usually eat together around 12:30 pm. After lunch, there is an observed rest time time (love this!). This is during the hottest part of the day, so it is nice to step out of the sun. By 3 pm it has cooled down (relatively speaking), and Simonne and I will then do the dishes. Afterwards, sometimes there is time to play soccer or Frisbee with my younger host brothers, or other times, we pluck and cut chickens (which my host parents sell). Don't worry, I did not include a picture of this activity. :)
My host parents come home around 5 pm, and by 5:30 pm Simonne, my host mother, and I begin preparing dinner. The family typically eats around 7:30 pm. The evenings are a sweet time together - everyone spends time together outside, talking, laughing. Lately we have been doing Christmas crafts. Simonne and I will often sing together as we do the evening dishes. To end the day, we have family prayer, and I am usually in bed by 10 pm.
This is a pretty standard day if I am at home. Oh what a learning process it has been! No matter how challenging the work may be, my host siblings are so goofy and can always bring a smile to my face.
Each week I have involvements elsewhere as well. Once a week I go with my host mother to her work at the Maternelle (a pre-school). I am also getting involved at a community center called the Mustard Tree Learning Center. It will be a center for students to learn English, French, study, sign up for English conversation and grammar classes, use the library/Wifi, cafe, etc. The Mustard Tree Learning Center will open in January. Lately my work there has been cleaning and preparing the building and helping organize the library.
- I am so grateful for each one of you. Thank you to each of you for your prayers, words of encouragement, and involvement in my life.
- My host family is very loving and accepting. I am grateful to be living with them.
- I also praise the Lord for the friendship with the other Journey Corp teammates and staff.
- Please be praying with me as I seek specific ministries with which to be involved.
- Prayers to build relationships in my neighborhood.
- It’s hard to be away from home this time of year. Prayers for that!