As would be expected, there are many features and details of day-to-day life here in Africa that are significantly different from life in the US or even Europe. Differences in language, culture, climate, economics, sights, sounds, and smells continually remind one from rising to retiring that this country is not simply a derivative of the West with a few different languages. It is concurrently ancient and modern—a land of mud huts and white mansions, wood fires and cell phones, donkey carts and Land Cruisers.
Initially Ouaga can appear simple, unsophisticated, and coarse. Yet this is also a land of the earliest peoples, ancient kingdoms, engineered architecture, and arts as enticing and expressive as anything to come out of Florence, London, or Beijing. Many of us in western societies and especially the New World cannot fully comprehend something much older than our own nation or social unit. This all reminds me that I all too easily mistake that which I cannot see for that which does not exist.
We have scarcely been here a week and there are manifold hazards to claiming any familiarity or wisdom too soon. We know less than a little and have an unimaginable amount of learning to do. The very differences that now separate us from truly being or living here must be the things that one day will connect and bind us to this new land. For the immediate moment we remain strangers in a strange land. God is good.