What is a home-stay?
You go live with a local family for a time to observe the way they live on a day to day basis. You are their guest but you join in on the things done every day. Usually you have not learned much language in your new culture so communication is limited which allows you to focus on just observing.
Our home-stay this time was in the village we are going to live in and in the house we will be living in once we finish language school. The family will become our landlord but we pray they will become much more. The nuclear family is a single mother with 3 children. The husband had died sometime in the past. The two sons lived at home and went to private school. The daughter was away at boarding school. This family does not stand alone, they are part of the larger family which makes up the whole neighborhood. All the neighbors are relatives in some way: grandparents, uncles, aunts, or cousins. During our time together, we meet and had tea with several of the extended family members. We have even been invited to a family wedding when we return from language school in late July. This is huge to be already invited to such an important event for the family.
We both had different experiences because women and men do different things during the day.
Jeremy: I hung out with two teenage sons most of my home-stay. We went and sat at the main road with the local motor bike taxi drivers. We drank porridge and ate peanuts. I got myself involved in two soccer games, climbed a mango tree to get some good fresh fruit and visited with a lot of family members. I spent most of my time outside of the house and in the community. We ate traditional food. Mama was a very good cook. Overall, it was a great time in the community meeting new people and seeing a little of the “flow of life” in the village.
Claudia: I stayed at home most of time with Mama. I watched her clean, wash dishes, wash clothes, and cook meals. She would give me small tasks to do after I watched her do them first. She spoke very little English but we made do. After the work was done, we just sat in her living room. Throughout the day, she had visitors come and go. These were family members and friends. I only went out in the community twice during our time to visit family members and to walk to the stores in the main part of the village.
Do pray with us for this family that as we move into the village in mid-July. We will continue to build on that friendship that has started. We were able to pray out loud before each meal in the name of Jesus Christ. We were also able to share the kind of music we listen to which is about God. They understood that we were not Muslims and we were followers of Jesus. We pray over time this family, neighborhood and village will come to follow Jesus.