We are many days into our trip and I cannot begin to express all of the fascinating things we have already experienced. It has been absolutely amazing. Burkina Faso is a land of few trees, a blazing sun, red, rocky “soil” and thousands of kind, friendly hard working people. We have been blessed over and over again by the people here in Dano.
In many respects it is like being on another continent. Oh wait, we are on another continent!! The houses are typically made of bricks and mud mortar and few of them have electricity. It is never unusual to see a strong, black woman walking across the way with a large, metal bowl or a bunch of sticks or a plate of fruit or a variety of other things on their head. They are amazing. You’ve never seen such strong necks. It is also quite common to see them carrying their children strapped to their back in a piece of fabric and believe me, sisters start caring for their younger siblings at a very young age. In many instances the one doing the carrying isn’t much bigger than the one being carried.
The children are numerous, beautiful and absolutely filled with joy. They sit patiently when directed and also participate freely in worship service. I bumped into a small group of them earlier in the week as they were wandering by the local Catholic church building at the bottom of the hill. When they saw the big, goofy, white man making his way down the road, they approached me cautiously. The fact that they approached at all was remarkable as they associate many bad spiritual things with the “color” white; i.e. ghosts. I reached into my pocket and gave them a handful of peanuts for which they were quite thankful. I also reached into my pocket and gave them 400 francs, the equivalent of 80 cents. They freaked out jumping up and down shouting “Barreka” and “Merci” (thank you in Dagara and French). Turns out that the average daily wage for an adult worker is about $2 American. I had no idea how much I was giving them, of course, but it sure made those kiddos happy.
Later that evening we joined the local tailor, Mr. Barry, for dinner. His shop is in downtown Dano – right on the strip just beside the market. He served us rice and sauce and a cornmeal, gelatenaous substance called “To” also with sauce. Not your typical chicken fried steak meal but it was filling and truly was good. We stayed to talk and were joined by a Falani herdsman and Mr. Barry’s son and niece. As we talked, Charlie (aka – Shal in Dagara), organized a baseball game with the local boys. Keep in mind that they have never seen baseball and didn’t really have any idea what he was talking about. On top of that, they couldn’t understand a word he was saying nor could he understand them. No problem – when I looked up they had rocks for bases and were playing away with a measuring stick and a plastic bag baseball. It was a complete riot! At one point, a shout came up from the fans and the players – “Batta Batta, Zing!” For all we could tell it was a new Dagara phrase that we simply had not heard yet. However, a further investigation into this interesting phrase revealed that it was only said whenever the batter approached the plate and the baseball was pitched. Yep, you’ve got it. “Shal“ had taught the local children to shout, “Batter, Batter swing” each time the batter entered the box. When we finally figured out what was being said, we laughed and laughed and laughed. Who needs a translator whenever kids and baseball are involved? No one.
What a blessing it has been to be here. Overwhelming in most every respect. The time to depart is drawing near and it makes me so sad. We have been treated royally always being seated on the best bench at each place we visited. Andy and Melissa and the rest of the team have been so hospitable and loving. They live remarkable lives and are often allowed to see God work in hearts and lives. It is awesome!
I’ve had a hard time writing simply because my entire world is upside down here. The overwhelming nature of the trip has baffled me and made it quite difficult to stop and express myself. I cannot thank you enough for the amazing generosity you have shown us. We’ve had more than enough and will be able to help in other areas as the days go by. Andy and Melissa have two bad tires even now on their truck and we will be able to replace them before we leave – all because of the generous way you gave to our Father for this trip.
You are loved with an everlasting love.
Wendell and family