Thursday, November 22, 2012

Say my name again

    "No really say it again. I forgot my name." Unless you've suffered from amnesia you've probably never said these words.  Yesterday, I did. 
     This week I was given a Baoule' name. In this language, names are given according to which day of the week you are born. So because I was born on a Tuesday my name is Konadio. 
    If you are wondering what your Baoule' name is you can use this chart to find out. Just don't ask me how to pronounce it. 

                         Girl                Boy
Monday.           Akissi            Kouassi
Tuesday.           Adjoua           Konadio
Wednesday.     Amelan           Konan
Thursday.         Ahou              Kouakou
Friday.              Aya                Yao
Saturday.         Affoue'            Koffi
Sunday.           Amoin              Kouame'

What do I

     "So what do you do all day?" I've been asked this question several times in the last few weeks.  By my friends and family in the US as well as fellow journeyers waiting to be placed into homes.  
       Its harder to answer than you think.  I do so much every day that each night I go to bed exhausted. But the next morning, it's hard to say exactly what happened yesterday. I've discovered that the question itself betrays our western mindsets and ideals of productivity and task orientation. If we haven't completed some note worthy work or task, something we can put in a blog or newsletter then... we haven't really done anything.
       From a Western Perspective my day looks like this:

Wake Up
Wait for someone to get me water so I can take a bucket bath. 
Get dressed.
Wait for Uncle Yeo to finish his bath so we can each breakfast.
Pray for the day with Uncle Yeo
Go to the local Highschool, where Uncle Yeo is a Biology Teacher
Wait outside while he teaches
Go back home.
Wait for lunch to be ready.
Eat lunch.
Take a nap.
Wait for everyone else to get up from their naps.
Wait for Uncle Yeo to get back from School.
Go with Uncle Yeo to visit people. 
Wait while he talks either in French too fast for me to understand or in another language all together. 
Go back home
Wait for dinner to be ready
Eat dinner.
Wait for Aunt Awa to tell me to take another bucket bath.
Watch TV while people come and visit
Wait for bed time.
Go to bed.

    Rod Ragsdale, the field leader for WorldVenture in Cote d'Ivoire and the director of Journey Corps, has famously said, "It's not about doing, it's about being. Just be." This from a man who has a hard time stopping work to sit in a meeting, or quite working long enough to take a nap. And vacation forget about it. Yet he knows, having grown up in Cote d'Ivoire, the importance of being, of sitting with people, of watching and observing before speaking. And so from this perspective my day looks like this:

Wake Up
Mentally prepare for the day and be reminded of the peace that God has secured for me in Christ.
Get dressed.
Watch how an Ivorien family interacts and learn their roles in the family.
Pray for the day with Uncle Yeo.
Go to the local Highschool, where Uncle Yeo is a Biology Teacher
Watch how students respect teachers and vice versa. Talk with students and practice French, learning new words as I watch and interact.
Greet everyone on the way home and begin to comprehend the importance of greetings to relationship and life here.
Play games on my Iphone while I wait for lunch to be ready, and laugh with my little cousin as I teach him how to play.
Eat lunch and enjoy the pleasure of eating with friends.
Take a nap.
Wait for everyone else to get up from their naps, and read while enjoying the quite and stillness of the afternoon heat.
Read my Bible in French and have my pronunciation corrected by Aunt Awa.
Go with Uncle Yeo to visit people. 
Give people value and importance by visiting and make them laugh as I stumble with my bad French.
Stop by "The Grein" a gathering of Teacher, to say hello. 
Talk with Aunt Awa about different foods and learn why food is prepared that way.
Eat dinner, while watching TV.
Learn the importance of cleanliness in society and the roles of the family by waiting to take another bucket bath.
Bathe and enjoy the simple pleasure of getting rid of sweat and grime.
Watch TV and laugh with people as they teach me knew words in French, and try to explain Western Perspective on current events while learning Ivorian perspectives.
Ask Uncle Yeo to explain the things I didn't understand during the day.
Go to bed and thank God for a great day.

        So you answer the question, "What do I do all day?"

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wait, I don't understand...

Wait, I don't Understand...
This month I began one of the most exciting and frightening parts of my time with Journey Corps. Living in an Ivorien home. On Thursday November 1st, I moved in with the Yeo family in Brobo just outside of Bouake.  It's exciting because this complete immersion is a masters level course in culture, worldview, thoughts, beliefs, and of course language. The frightening part of this is living in the family on my own. I don't have a translator to help with miscommunications or a someone from my own culture to help me make sense of what I'm seeing and experiencing. And so I end up making alot of mistakes and saying, "Wait, I don't understand..."
These challenges are part of the value of my time here. The lessons I learn here and the way that these experience shape me will make me more able to tell the story of the change and growth I see happening here in Cote d'Ivoire, change that is only possible because of God's work here.  Already, I can notice a difference in how I see the people and their stories. As I start to plan shoots and productions I am certain this new perspective will make my productions that much better.

Social Lessons
I've been learning so much and I want to make sure I share some of those lesson with you.  Internet in Brobo is... difficult at best and non-existent most of the time. Still I'm trying to post as much as I can to differrent social media channels.  Besure to check out Facebook for all the latest pictures. And follow me on Twitter @CADVideo .  Make sure to check out the different threads by searching for the hashtags: #CIclassroom, #whereiamat, and #drewvsinternet. I've also been able to post some longer thoughts and experiences on the blog at 

With out the ads for Black Friday Sales and special Thanksgiving deals, the idea of thanksgiving and what I have to be thankful for has been a clear focus this month. God has continued to provide for this project through people like you. Thanks to you and other supporters, I have over 200 people that are reading this newsletter and following the project. 20 different  people, family and friends, continually give to my project each month providing aproximately 65% of my full financial budget. In the last month, 3 new people joined that team, and one family gave a very geneours one time gift so that my work accounts now have over $6000.  Because of these generous people, I have enough money to be able to start the travel and production when my time in Cote d'Ivoire comes to an end in January.
Thank you for being part of this project. If you have any questions about the project, how finances are used, what is still needed, or how you can become more involved please contact me via email at  or reply to this email. Again thank you for being a part of this exciting project.

Your Fellow Servant,
Drew Hayes