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homestay

Laundry: My Therapy

I just found this picture when I was scrolling through old pictures with the kids.  We do that sometimes to remember and try to solidify those times into the kids’ memories.  Anyways, this is me doing laundry at our Homestay. 🙂

Laundry on the roof

Yes,  I am using a plastic bag to take the clothes down.  hahaha! I laugh when I look at this picture because I remember what it was like to live with so less. We didn’t own a laundry basket.  We didn’t own clothes pins.  I had to share the washer, line and clothes pin with our Homestay family.

We got to do a load of laundry about every other week.  If Honey-Bear had a blow out or spit up, I washed those by hand.  If our clothes had anything extra than normal dirt, I had to wash it by hand because our Homestay mom was very picky about her washing machine.

A couple times I took laundry to a friends’ house while we visited and did it there.  That friend wasn’t picky about her washing machine.

Though washing by hand was hard, I came to enjoy it.  It meant time away from the kids.  It meant quiet time.  It meant working hard with my hands, which was a good release on the days I was so frustrated with language and culture.  It also meant that I knew my clothes and stains were cleaned out. Washing by hand became good therapy for me!

Now, we have a wash machine we share with our apartment building and a normal tall, white laundry basket we’re given.  And I still hang clothes on the line and take my time, enjoying the beautiful creations around me!

 

Homestay–Living with a National Family

HOMESTAY

If you are traveling anywhere for any period of time, you should try to do a Homestay.

Defined:  A homestay is simply living with a local family.

We were advised to do a homestay when we first got to Africa.  It would help with language, culture learning, adaptation to new culture.  It would also benefit to have someone else cooking and cleaning during the time you don’t know the words for ‘egg’ or ‘toilet paper.’

My Love and I were excited by the idea of seeing what life was like on the inside of an African family.  We asked other friends and families about their experiences.  We had heard of people staying one week up to four months; and of people loving it or hating it.  The two main negatives we found were (1) not feeling like their needs were met (ex: not enough food, no shower) and (2) the pushing of their personal limits (ex: not enough personal space).

We stayed in our homestay for three months.  And overall, we were so glad we did it!  It didn’t help much with our language (because the father knew some English and only wanted to talk in English).  But we learned a lot about how a African family functions, relates, argues, has fun, etc.  We got to be a part of their holidays and extended family visits. I learned where to shop and what an average life looks like for an African woman.  We learned how conflict happens (between our two families) and how it can be resolved and have a good ending.

I realized I was coming from my

“entitled American life” to people I, honestly, looked down on because ‘they’re poor or less educated, so they must not be too smart or know much about health, relationships, etc.’  I was humbled to see these people live with less, but with life and enjoyment of what they have! I met some of the most relational, giving, beautiful people I’ve even met…in our homestay.  I wouldn’t trade my time in their home for anything!!


Have you ever lived with a local family to do a homestay?

3 Meals a Day in our Homestay

When we moved to Lang City and in to our homestay, everything was accommodated for. We had a place to sleep, bathroom, laundry, and three meals a day. Those three meals a day were cooked by our Host-Mom, Rachel, and were always national dishes. We were immersed into culture!

3 Meals a Day in an African Home Stay

Benefits:

→We got to dive into the culture with bread in our hands. 🙂 They say the way to a persons’ heart is food. That might be true of our African culture!! Their food is delicious.

→The first month of homestay My Love and I lost two pant sizes. HA! No the food wasn’t bad, in fact most of the time it was amazing. Our bodies were going through their own ‘culture shock.’ Drinking water was different. The food, seasonings, large amounts of vegetable oil were all different. Walking at least 30 minutes a day to class was different.

→Our sweet Host-Mom seemed to spend all day in the kitchen. Though we had to work out the kinks of not cooking my own food for three months, it was nice to have lots of extra time to study, be out in culture, to take care of the family, and to rest!

→The cost of the meals was included in our monthly rent so it was much cheaper, too.

Difficulties:

→When we didn’t like something, we would try our best to eat a little out of respect for the family. Plus it’s always good to try something new, you never know if you’ll like it. (Except sheep brain—I knew I would not like that!!) If we were still hungry, we’d grab a sandwich later.

→The hardest part was that we didn’t choose the times the meals were ready. In our African culture breakfast is around 8:30am, lunch is around 1:30pm, tea is around 4pm, and dinner is around 8pm. Ha

ve you ever tried to stretch a one-year-old to eat at 8pm? Not worth it. Since 8pm was the kids’ bedtime, we would make PB&J sandwiches in our room around 6/6:30pm.

We were thankful for our Host Family and their hard work.  Like I said above, though there were kinks to work out, I was grateful for the extra time to spend elsewhere.