Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Last Day of Classes, Goodbye to Host Families

13 December – Romongo, 10:11pm

After our morning classes (lang tech that was a reprise of a worksheet we'd already done and a Q&A session with Shannon that was pretty helpful), I stopped by the photo place on our way to lunch but they still didn't have any paper. I was pretty disappointed – I'd intended to print some of the photos of my host family and give them to them, but I guess I'll have to see if they have a mail address and try to print them in Ouaga or when I get to site. After lunch we rushed back to Abbe-Pierre and drove to Romongo, stopping to pick up food on our way. We were just on time for when we had said the thank you/goodbye ceremony for our host families would start, but since no one had actually shown up yet we had lots of time to get ready - we started a little over an hour late. The ceremony went really well for being mostly improvised - Bridget gave a lovely speech, we had speeches from each of our dignitaries (the prefet, and the representatives of the mayor, chief, and two other people I don't remember), and a really sweet one by my host father on behalf of the host families. We presented our families with certificates and I was really happy when my host mom and favorite aunt came up with my host dad. We were amused that the certificates were in English, but I guess since it was from an American organization it kind of made sense.

I intended to pack but most everything else needs to be packed in the morning, so I read a little and tried to chat with some of the kids. Dinner was bengado! One of the meals I like! It's dried peanut leaves, pounded, mixed with water, and then steamed in balls before being broken up into a taco-meat consistency and mixed with oil and salt. While I think taco spices would absolutely improve it, it's still fairly tasty on it's own and, most importantly, it doesn't have any dried fish in it. And after dinner my host dad called me into his room/the tv room and gave me and the rest of the kids some kind of potato-type starchy tuber with a dry skin that you cracked and removed before taking parts of it and dipping it in a piment/salt mixture. Delicious!

He also told Saimata to take me around to “demande la route” of the older people in Moore. I was a bit confused since I assumed that everyone knew I was leaving tomorrow, but didn't argue. The oldest aunt who always gives me food actually seemed surprised and sad that I was leaving, which was touching. Saying goodbye to Fati was surprisingly hard and I had to stop myself from crying – I'm really going to miss talking with her. We switched to French, and her benedictions in both languages were touching and made me wish I could say more back to her. The rest of the adults had already gone to bed, so I sat and talked with the kids while they braided hair (I was asked for my bicycle by my “fiance”) for a little before going back inside. I know tomorrow is going to be early and hectic, so time for bed!

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