I’m here! And alive!

HAYYYYYYY FROM AFRICA. So here’s what I’ve been up to since I left the loving embrace of my parents in Boston:


A quick break down on our journey here: My whole staging class (all education volunteers, teaching either pre-school, math, science, or english) all met in Philly for an orientation. After a day of ice breakers and talking about spiders and parasites, we went out for a “last meal” (craft beer and flat bread pizza, y’all).

The next day (Thursday), we head up to JFK (and I got WAY too nostalgic about NYC because #Barnard) and sat in the airport for half the day until we caught our flight to Brussels, hung out in THAT airport for more hours until we boarded our flight to Ouagadougou!

Once arrived, PC staff met us and guided us through customs and transported us all back to our hotel which is really a convent and I walk around terrified that the natives will figure out I’m a fallen catholic. Also it’s hot. Like really hot. Like subway platform in July hot. AND IT WILL GET HOTTER.

After a dinner of rice in a chicken/ okra sauce and malaria pills, it was bed time THANK GAHD because at this time we had gone on two different 6+ hour flights and sleeping didn’t happen.

This all took place in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina, we then were transferred to Leo where we met out host families!

We spent a few days in Ouaga getting ourselves oriented and bonding as a stage (read: stahhhhhhhge) then bussed our way to Leo for training where we got our host families!

My host family consists of my host dad, two host moms (but the first wife picked me up, so I’m assuming shes my “real” host mom), and God knows how many host siblings. It’s actually seven BUT THEY’RE EVERYWHERE so it seems like they multiply. They are a practicing Muslim family which I requested because I feel like I’m lacking major knowledge in Islam. Also, they speak Arabic, Allah Akbar!!!!!!!, so now I can sprinkle in Arabic words for the French words I don’t know. Most of the time is just my family laughing at me because I know so few languages and they all speak like five.

Most days I wake up, take a bucket bath, head to PCT training, head home, take another bucket bath, hang out with Habiba and Hussein (le host sibbys) who like playing catch with me, eat dinner, and then my host mama tries to teach me a little French/ Arabic/ Moore/ Nuni whatever she feels like, then I pass out. The rooster outside my window crows at all hours of the night so my next goal is to learn “If you slaughter this bird, may I do the honors?” in French.

My host family is shocked at how little I eat (but I’m super healthy- no worries to those concerned about my well being!) and ask me all sorts of fun stuff about America. My host mom is a hair dresser and so I get to meet her clients when I come back from school. They try to practice their English on me and I try to practice my French on them so it’s just a hot mess.

Speaking of hot messes, it is mads sweaty up in here. And riding a bike in a maxi skirt is incredibly difficult. I hate JCrew ads for telling me biking in a skirt is fun and whimsicle it is NO SUCH THING.


6 thoughts on “I’m here! And alive!”

  1. You make me laugh!!! From all the little children to biking in a full length skirt I can feel your “pain” but I also know that deep deep down you are laughing a bit inside, I can only imagine all those sibling you now have (and you thought 1 brother could be a bit taxing) and 2 Moms!!!! How I envy those moms getting to see you every day…sounds hot and hectic…but in many ways a bit idyllic. Loved hearing everything …can’t wait for next installment…xoxoxoxox

  2. Miss you every day but thanks for making me laugh. I am amazed by what you are doing and learning. Xoxoxo

  3. Hi Hadden- I love your blog!! (and especially that you have 2 moms….). We are intrigued with your adventure since we entertained the possibility of doing a 2 year tour in Ethiopia last year. Jeff went over for a few weeks, had the runs the entire time……& that sealed the deal 😦
    I look forward to reading about your adventures!!! xoxo

  4. Hey Hadden! Please post continuously about your adventures so I can live vicariously through, b/c the UES isn’t all that new and exciting… You should also collect all stories so a spin-off of Modern Family can be created. I’m sure a show about a fallen catholic living with an Muslim family with 2 moms and 7 kids where you have to take sponge baths would be a huge hit. I would watch it. Also, if your host family is worried you don’t eat enough, I can settle there qualms with some stories of our culinary experiences. Like you eating chocolate donuts dipped in peanut butter. Or a whole dozen mini cupcakes in one day. Or that “picnic” we had where we had half a pie, ice cream, pop’ems and other stuff. Also our picnic on the pier in the Hamptons with Cheese Puffs and cookies.

    1. Ok 1) super jealous about these food memories, and 2) I would watch that show too. It needs to happen.

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