A week ago Sunday I went to some wedding festivities. I’ve actually been to multiple weddings since then (it’s been a crazy few weeks), but this one was unique in that the bride was a North American. She met her Burkinabé husband at college in NYC, and came out to Burkina Faso for a week to get married. I didn’t get a chance to talk to the bride, but I did get to talk to her mom, who came out for the week as well. She said that it was very overwhelming, and I believe it. They got here on Wednesday, and on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, were the central parts of big celebrations with cultural implications that they didn’t understand, surrounded by people whose languages they couldn’t speak. I would have been overwhelmed, too.
But I didn’t attend that wedding within my first week here in Burkina Faso. By the time I went, I knew what to expect, what to do, when I had choices in what to do and when I didn’t, I knew several people there, I could speak two languages with them, and I thought that it was fun.
This experience of learning and growing and understanding and adapting is what NTM calls e2. We learn to be relevant in the city, which will allow us to be able to make a difference here as well as better prepare us to be able to adapt to life among an unreached people group in the near future.
I’ve often thought that through this e2 process I’ve gone “from weird to weird.” When I first set foot in Burkina Faso, I was very weird by their standards. Now I’m not so weird here, but things that I’ve adapted to here will be very weird by US standards. No set times? Dinner at 9 or 10 at night? You can stop by anyone’s house at any time? There isn’t really a word for “please?” etc. I actually read an article that it explains it well, so if this update isn’t too long already you can go read it here
Since that wedding day of the North American, my e2 coordinator has been out here and met with people here to see how they think that I’ve done in e2. And they said that I have learned to integrate into life here, so I officially “passed” e2! It doesn’t mean that I’m done learning and growing, but it does mean that that isn’t my “full-time job” anymore.
So what’s next? It’s a good question with perhaps a long answer. I’ll keep it brief by saying that I’ll be kept plenty busy with PGA (People Group Assessment) and linguistics “stuff,” most of it on my computer for now. But there is exciting news . . .
From July through September I’m planning on coming back to Wisconsin for a visit! Since I’m in this interim stage, and actually a lot of my work can now be done from anywhere, I thought it would be a great time to come back and visit some of you while I continue to work on my PGA and linguistics “stuff.” Hooray! Then I can tell you more about what I’m thinking for the future and where I may be heading.