Jackie – First Impressions

The days in Lome flew by with delicious food, intense markets and struggling French. But we’ve been so excited to leave for the village, and life in Kuwde has been so lovely. I live in Lao, which is the mountain in the mountains, and it’s about a 10 minute walk from the others in Kuwde. The first night was full of confusion – after hiking up in the dark with Natasha and Basile, my host father, and taking a quick bucket shower in the dark, we fell asleep quickly in my pitch black room (it’s as dark with your eyes open as your eyes closed).

I don’t think I can say this enough – Kuwde is so beautiful!! There are so many tiny baby goats, little baby guinea fowls that look a little bizzare, and my homestead alone has 5 new puppies. The view outside is stunning, and I could see many of the other villages around the mountains. During the first few days, I was slightly thrown off, nervous, because I found it hard to communicate with many of the villagers who could not speak French, but learning Kabiye became the best way to bond with my family (and many other villagers, who find it hilarious when I try to speak Kabiye) and a rewarding personal goal. I’m still getting used to the food, but my host mother Bea made this one delicious meal of fried bean cakes with a really spicy sauce that I haven’t stopped thinking about. Everyday has been filled with many small, funny, awkward, eye-widening and unforgettable moments that I’ll hope to write more about someday. Two weeks now in Kuwde with Sam and Grant, and with our projects taking off and daily schedules becoming more comfortable, I look forward to more adventures and progress to come.

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