Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bridging Cultures

This evening we hosted a station BBQ for all of the people who work here at the station. Many of them have been helping to host Messiah teams at the station here in Mahadaga for years and we wanted to show our appreciation for all of their hard work.

We built a fire late in the afternoon and started cooking the potatoes, sausages, and shish-kabobs. As the sun set and the food cooked many of us enjoyed running around with the Walsh and Johnson kids and a few Burkinabe kids. The kids are lots of fun, but we were very ready for dinner when the time came. Once the sun had set and people had arrived we started the evening by singing a few worship songs and hymns. After we sang, some of the Burkinabe sang some familiar hymns in Gourma. When the food was ready we followed the cultural norm by dishing out plates and serving each person, men, then women, then children, as they are not used to buffet style serving.

After we ate the Burkinabe started singing again and began dancing around the fire. A few of us from the team joined in on the dancing and tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to master the footwork of their dancing, which gave them a good laugh. I really enjoyed dancing with everyone and being able to laugh and sing with people that I usually can't communicate with. Eventually the singing died down and everyone sat back down to rest a little. We wanted to share a bit of American culture with them and teach them one of our dances. So most of the team members stood up in a circle and did the Chicken Dance. Many of the Burkinabe joined us right away and everyone had a great time laughing and dancing.

I have always enjoyed times when people are able to cross cultures and language barriers through music and singing and tonight was no different. It can be very frustrating to be in a place where you don't speak the language and can't communicate with people. Tonight I was reminded that even though we don't speak the same language and there are so many differences in our cultures, we're all God's children and that unites us. We have hymns that are the same that we can sing together, but even more than that; when we allow ourselves to open up we can have a good time worshiping our God together, singing, dancing, and laughing, and seeing the beauty in all the lives that are around us.

With love from Mahadaga,

1 comment:

  1. Kate. What a special evening you all had. I have so look forward to read the latest blog updates. It really helps us back home have a daily glimpse into what is happening. Our prayers go up each day for all of you.

    Ron Hodge