We’re at the end of the almost 3 weeks in Burkina with the ImissDennys guy and the experience has been a mountain top one from beginning when we first laid eyes on a tall, dark, lean (as in I’m glad I lost a few pounds before coming to Burkina or I’d of weighed more) Clay in the Ouagadougou airport at 1:50 AM on a May Thursday morning to this very moment hanging out in Hotel Joanne’s with AC and a fan the night before our return flight home beginning at 6:20 AM on a Jun Monday morning.
We’ve met his closest Peace Corps volunteer friends – all amazing human beings from the many corners of US diversity and interests and his good Burkinabe friends/family (pronounced Burkina-bay to most people – and Berk-IN-ah-bee to his Spanish speaking mother… OK, I don’t speak Spanish or French or Djoula – and quite frankly, I’m finding that I may not have that great a command of English either). Visiting Clay’s host family – the Nagalos was a knot in my throat kind of experience. And when Boukary Nagalo, the tall, regal father proclaimed at the end of our visit that it is God who brought our families together – whether we were Muslim, Christian, and/or Undeclared – there was no question in any of our hearts the truth he spoke.
For days, we’d end the day asking one another and ourselves, what most impressed us from the day – and inevitably, it’d turn into a Clay-love fest affirming how intrigued/amazed/impressed we all were with his ability to so fluidly, with humor, grace and good will communicate – first in French – then increasingly we realized – it was Djoula. Or Moore. Or a fourth language that somehow he could smile and say something – just enough for the person he was interacting with to know that he recognized the language but wasn’t yet able to speak it. then as the days wore on – we were reminded that we were parents of not just one great guy – but three…. and that Andy and Nate too were understanding all French and increasingly interacting – as their parents would hold up two fingers and say trois or three fingers and say quatre. We knew we were close.
I’m happy to report that disc golf is taking off in Founzan. The children poured out to the course that Clay’s built each time we went there… to play, to watch, to enjoy the outing. Laughing – and actually putting with precision that surpassed our expectations given that it was a relatively new sport for them. But it wasn’t the disc golf that people wanted to tell us about. It was their sheer enjoyment of Clay working and living among them – and Clay’s sheer joy in being with them was equally evident to us. The young woman who sold us the heavenly beesap – the most refreshing drink made of hyacinth flower nectar – boiled with sugar and water….a baby sleeping swaddled in the Burkina International Women’s Day 2014 fabric laid out on the cool concrete foundation of her stand – her refrigerated unit providing her with a commodity that refreshed and restored hot travelers and townspeople alike.
This evening’s dinner in Ouaga – and Clay’s PCV colleagues joining us – inquired what meant the most to us in our travel and visit to Burkina. There was no single answer. In each moment laid something extraordinary.. The djoula. The dola. The beesap. The extraordinary lives that the PCVs had committed two years – perhaps more – of their lives to. The Burkinabe and the utter kindness and hospitality they exuded in their every interaction with our son – and with our son’s family. The white rooster that Jean Paul who works with Clay by providing him outstanding food and care – gave as a meal while we visited. The Guinea hen that school partner brought us for another meal and sauce. The To that Clay’s neighbor brought by for another meal. The peanuts that were ground and roasted outside of Clay’s home by the djoula speaking women who laugh and laugh as they work each day – and who delight in Clay’s conversation with them as they teach him their language and rejoice in his progress. Somogodo. How is your family. The response – my family is well. Somogodo – and your family?
Je suis content. Tres content.
love Imissdenny’s mom.