It has been one year since I left the USA (Oct.13). All my memories of this past year have been of Burkina (Except Barcelona w/ the FAM) and all my memories I will make in this upcoming year will be based around Burkina.
Thinking back to my single most favorite thing about this year is my dog. I was hesanantant at first because I didn’t want to get a dog and then have to leave it after two years, and what do you feed African dogs anyways.
Since I didn’t want a child to spend every night with me at my home, I was talked into getting a dog for “security.” I was told a dog won’t stop an intruder, but at least I will know when one is coming. So far he has been a great guardian. He hasn’t stopped any humans (but there hasn’t been any) but he has done a great job at warning me about donkeys, frogs and the occasional snakes in my courtyard. (As in snakes I mean only 2 and only a foot long each)
I was given the puppy by a friends and I decided to name him Benga, which is Beans in Moore my local language. Most people find it odd because who names their dog after food? In my village most dogs are named Cuppy, Tutu or chien (dog in French). I am asked a lot if his name is Benga only or if his middle name is Rice, since Rice and beans is a popular dish here.
The thing I like most about him is that he is a great housemate.
1. He works as a wake up alarm because he has to go out at 6:30 every morning
2. He eats whatever I make for him, even if what I make is questionable
3. He keeps me company when it gets dark at 6 pm and I have no one to talk to
4. He also sleeps most of the day leaving me to do what I want
The best part though he has helped me integrate unto the community. He has made me leave my house when I haven’t wanted to leave. Instead of staying inside all day I have had to go in search of food or water or let him out to go to the bathroom
He’s made me talk to people I wouldn’t necessarily talk to. Whether is be to explain why I named my dog Benga or to ask where he is, which is hard because I don’t know if they are talking about my dog or the food.
He’s made me go places I haven’t thought about going. When I take him on walks he always running in multiple directions, so I have found many hidden treasures in my village.
My Country Director always says, “Don’t just live here for 2 years, and makes this your home.” That’s what Benga is helping me to do, make this village, MY VILLAGE.