by 2 February 20, 2015Today we are returning to the international journey of contributor Kendyl Elliott, who spent last summer living and working in Ivory Coast, Africa. For two more weeks, Kendyl will we sharing photos, stories, and amazing experiences from her trip. While in Ivory Coast, I had the opportunity to travel all across the country. My host family, the Teagues, spend time working in different villages every week. It was fascinating living life as they do on a regular basis— on the road. Our first excursion was short and sweet. We traveled about an hour outside of the capital to the village of Bonoua. We were warmly welcomed with smiles, handshakes, and hugs. It reminded me a lot of life here at home in the South. I loved the friendly atmosphere. We were invited into the home of a local pastor for lunch. The simplicity of the lives they lived was beautiful. There were clothes hung out on the line to dry, kids out laughing in the streets, and no busy boulevards to cloud the sound of the wind. Spending time in an environment like this with limited access to wi-fi and no cell signal was so refreshing. They served us a feast— chicken, rice with sauce, French fries, fried plantain, and and the best mangoes I've ever tasted for dessert. I could have eaten the same meal every day. The Teagues often teased me for my love of French fries. When there was a meal I was anxious to try, I could always turn to my safety net: the fries. These Africans knew the way to every American’s heart, and they served it to me on a platter! The following weekend, we made the trek north to Boundoukou, a village that borders Ghana.The road there was covered in potholes. It doubled our travel time and tripled my car-sickness. This was yet another thing I learned to be thankful for when I came back home— paved roads! The kids I met in Boundoukou will forever hold a special place in my heart. We often spent time together outside after dark. Their sweet spirits lit up the night. I’ll never forget singing and dancing with them as mosquitoes and flying termites pelted me in the face— yes, flying termites. (Side note: Flying termites are a favorite Ivorian snack.) I wasn't the best at remembering to take my anti-malaria medicine, but I managed to make it out alive. As shocking as it may sound, I successfully left both malaria and Ebola behind in Africa. The last village I was privileged to see was that of Korhogo. A dear friend of mine gave me hundreds of Silly Bandz to hand out to the kids I met, and I gave every single one away to the kids of Korhogo. I loved seeing them playing with them and trading them with each another. In the midst of the humid African heat, we played, decorated crowns for every prince and princess of the village, and turned the dirt into our own little photo booth. They loved every second of it, and so did I. Photos from that weekend now live on the walls of my bedroom and on my desktop at the office. I don’t have very typical African stories. I didn't see elephants, lions, or rhinos. I didn't eat incredibly bizarre foods. I didn't live the life of a typical tourist, but I did meet some of the most incredible souls. I didn't need to be constantly entertained— the moments I shared with the people of Ivory Coast were more than enough for me. Stay tuned for more from Kendyl’s amazing trip to Africa! Part III of her journey will be published next Friday right here at Hello Luvvy. Have questions for Kendyl about her trip, her mission, or her future trips? Email us at helloluvvy@gmail. Writer’s bio: Kendyl is a coffee-driven college student pursuing a degree in education. She plans to teach English abroad after graduating from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
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