"There are two great moments in a persons life: the moment you were born and the moment you realize why you were born."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bizarre Everyday Life

I am now 8 months into living here in Cote d’Ivoire and things after that long start to become normal and just a part of everyday life. So when I was dodging someone on a moto the other day, because they were on the wrong side of the road, I was thinking that would never happen in America. Well this blog is going to be about things that would never happen in America that I have grown accustomed to, because they are just everyday normal things here.

In Cote d’Ivoire:
~it is ok to drive on the wrong side of the road if:
-the road has less pot holes, sand or water
-you are going to be making a turn anyways, it doesn’t make sense to go over to the right side of the road when you are going to end up taking a left turn anyways
-you were already on that side, going that direction…just SO much simpler this way

~it is more economically efficient to mimic the clown cars and cram as many people as you possibly can into a vehicle or moto. This means:
-squeezing 45 people in a 20 person car
-it’s not necessary to close the door to the bus, because someone can hold on to it and that’s just one more person that can fit inside
-riding on top of an already packed bus is fine
-jumping on the back of buses and cars are a good idea
-5 people riding on a little moped such as this one…

In America:
The cop pulling you over would say that both of these things are unsafe and a little stupid as he hands you a crazy expensive ticket.


In Cote d’Ivoire:
~we like our babies pretty so dressing them up in make up for special events or just because you want to happens often.

~breast feeding happens in the following places:
-the side walk as you are walking, with something on your head
-on a moto
-at work
-as the baby is strapped to your back
-basically…EVERYWHERE and anytime
*more on breast feeding please watch the “Ode to Wrinkly Pancakes” by thee Heidi Kogler and Naomi Smith*

~carrying children is a piece of cake with your extra panya (a very common fabric, used to make clothes, blankets and everything else fabric is made out of). You tie the baby to your back. Women also do this while on the back of motorcycles, carrying things on their heads, or just cleaning the house. Since I am a twin, I’m always curious about what moms do with multiple children, well they tie one on the front and the other on their back. We are always looking for hands free methods of things in America, like cell phones and such, well in Cote d’Ivoire we have hands free child care.

In America:
~we still like pretty babies, but instead dress them up in ridiculously expensive outfits they can only wear once (probably for like an hour) and then the next day they out grew it.

~let’s be honest, most of us are terrified of breast feeding, so we don’t usually have to see it.

~instead of using a blanket to strap in our kids, we just put them in a backpack…the same thing we put books in…huh

In Cote d’Ivoire:
~Safety and sanitary rules include:
-cooking on the dirt floor
-using a dull knife, not using a cutting board (it’s your leg if you need one) and cutting towards yourself
-if something falls on the dirt floor, it’s totally ok, just rinse it off with water and your are good to go
-finding different preservatives (since rice and sauce don’t store well in refrigerators) such as ashes from coals

In America:
~if this was going on when I was still working at Stonefire I would only hear “EWWW…I’m not eating that!”

Other bizarre differences would include
~the use of your left hand…traditionally, people don’t use toilet paper
~mesh (fake hair) vs real hair
(I can’t tell you how many people ask me if I have mesh or if this is real)
~matching: the more colors you use the better you look
~men in loin clothes talking on their cell phones (there’s nothing to compare that too)
~rear ends sticking up in the air
-when you sweep
-drop something
-washing dishes
-people here are ridiculously flexible because they are constantly bent over at their waste

These are just a few of the things I went through during my culture shock. Although they sound bizarre these things feel so normal. I can’t believe how at home this all feels and how much Cote d’Ivoire feels like home. It sort of goes with the…

Scripture of the Week:
“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”
Hebrews 13:14

Reading that I remember that this world will never truly feel like my home. I don’t belong here. It makes me so excited to go home, to my real home. I can’t imagine how awesome it’ll be to run to my heavenly Papa’s arms in my heavenly house.

Prayer Requests:
*I would be present wherever I am at and sensitive to the Lord’s leading. Some day this place is going to feel like a far away dream, I want to soak up as much as I possibly can in the little amount of time I have left
*In just a few weeks we have lots of traveling and work to do to prepare for the next group of Journeyers. Please pray for these preparations and for our new family members. Pray that they would arrive safely and for their families in the states
*Heidi and I are starting a new project with the youth group at our church, small groups. I feel like Beachpoint has drilled that into our brains and now we have the opportunity to help start it with our church here.

I hope you enjoyed the fun things that shocked me about Cote d’Ivoire and that you were able to learn something new today. As always I am going to say if you, your family, or friends have prayer requests or praises shout ‘em out. And I would love to hear your updates or comments. Have a great day and I hope you enjoy it!


  1. This blog cracked me up so much! Its interesting how much we can learn from another culture. It is also interesting how we so often think our way is right until we see someone else functioning just fine with different methods of life.


  2. It's amazing how none of this really surprises or shocks me. I guess I still have a lot of African blood in me. :) Thanks for sharing.