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MOUSSA’S IMPACT: AN ALUMNI REFLECTION ON THE POWER OF HOMESTAYS

Posted on

05/15/20

Author

Frances McMillan, West Africa Semester Alumnus

Frances McMillan, a participant on a West Africa semester program, made the following video to reflect the transformative impact of the close friendship she formed with her homestay brother, Moussa.

 

 

Upon arriving in Senegal, I was petrified. How would I form a meaningful relationship with my host family when we didn’t speak the same language? When we came from two different worlds? Would I be able to adapt to their way of life, while still holding onto my own identity?

 

I soon realized I had nothing to be worried about. Yes, it was hard at first. Like, really really hard. Was there deafening silence coupled with awkwardness and anxiety for the first few days? 100%. But as time passed, I felt like I had known my family forever. Their routines became mine. After dinner, I cleaned with my sister, then we settled down to some Senegalese soap operas with my grandma and I always laughed when they laughed (even though I could barely understand a word of the rapid-fire Wolof), and then it was tea time.

 

Moussa and I sipped hot, bittersweet attaya from tiny glass cups while popping fresh peanuts into our mouths in the courtyard under the stars. We exchanged sarcastic comments and inside jokes like old friends. I remember I never wanted to go to sleep because I could talk with Moussa forever. He made me feel like I had a second home I could always return to.

 

I hope this short documentary stirs something inside you. Whether it’s an urge to travel, an urge to get outside your comfort zone, or maybe just a feeling of admiration for the man who I was lucky enough to spend every day with for a month. Thank you Dragons for making our connection possible and thank you Moussa, you are a force to be reckoned with and I can’t wait to see what you achieve in the future.

 

Love your friend and mentee,
Khadidja (Frances)
 

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