Saturday, October 20, 2012


I love questions.  Its one of the best parts of my job.  I get to sit down with people and ask them questions that normally wouldn't be asked in polite society.  Hard questions, questions that make people stop and think, questions that shock people and make them laugh at their own answers, deep personal questions.  The amazing part is somehow because I have a camera pointed at them people try to give me honest answers, as if the camera is some sort of lie detector. 

In my own life questions have played a big part as well. I'll get a question in my head and I'll chew on it like a cow on cud, swallow it, digest part of it, and then start chewing it all over again. Grinding my teeth until, I get every bit of nourishment out of it.  

My favorite type of questions are the ones that are answered by more questions?As part of the training this week, I was given a feast of these types of questions?

What is your origin?
What are the Benchmark events in your life?
How did you get here?
What did you think you were getting into by coming here?
What have you done in your Past?
What are your dreams for this year?
What are your dreams for your life?
What is the most important thing for you this year
Does your being here really matter?
What is your greatest fear for this year?
What is your greatest desire for this year?
How is being here going to contribute to the above?

    Have you ever answered these questions? How would you answer them now? See its already happening, more questions coming from questions. Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Value of a Visit

 I am an introvert. I prefer to let people come to me. That creates a small problem here in Ivory Coast, because visiting is a very important part of Ivorian culture.  As a new comer, I am expected to go on these trips.  Once we visited a local pastor. Another time we visited the family of friends from church. Every time, I say the few phrases I know in French and then just sit and watch what others do.  Not too hard, but really kind of boring.  It wasn't until this past Sunday that I understood why it was so important. 
Nature walks are a good way to see the land, and meet the people that live here.      Phil, one of the leaders, invited me to come with him to visit Jahn, a beekeeper and one of the gardeners on the ICA campus.  Everything was pretty standard. 
- Bon Arivee (Welcome) Have some water.  
- Thank you.  
- What is the news? 
- Nothing serious, just came to visit.
- Ah good. Please meet my mother, my wife, my daughters, and my son.
- Glad to meet you. My name is Drew. I'm a documentary film-maker. 
   This is where my French runs out and I begin to watch while straining to understand a few words of the conversation. But as the conversation came to a close, Phil turned to me and translated the last of what Jahn had said. 
 "I am very content at your visit. I am glad you came to see me and my family, my house and our garden. I am very content.  Visiting is very important here in Cote d'Ivoire. When you come to visit it means that person is important. It gives them value. So I am very glad you came to visit me."
    Value? What did I do? I sat here? Could it be so simple? Could something more be going on in these visitation? How do I give a person value just by visiting them?
    In the car ride back, these questions kept rolling through my head. One of the main ideas that I want to covey through my videos is the value of the people here, that they aren't to be pitied, that they are worthy of more than just our gently used goods.  I want people to see the value that God gave them when He created us all. 
     I'm still not sure how to do that in a video, but I'm learning visit by visit that somehow the presence of friends and strangers coming, talking, seeing you in your home brings worth and value. And I think that transfer of value goes both ways. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Beinvenue a Bouake!

Beinvenue a Bouake! (Welcome to Bouake) 

I can't believe that I've been here in Bouake, Cote d'Ivoire for two weeks already. In some ways it feels like yesterday that I said farewell to you and in other ways it seems like months have passed since I arrived. 
For example, the initial departure and flight to Cote d'Ivoire was a month long saga packed into 2 days.  That tale is too long to share here, but if you want to read about it you can visit the Blog, and read the entire story there. 
In contrast to those first days, things are now moving along very smoothly. Language learning is coming along very well and I am even enjoying it. The sense of community here is very strong and continues to grow. Beside the team of 6 Americans and the 5 Germans who arrived just ahead of me, there are 6 Journey Corps team members from previous years.  They have been a huge aid in our transition, helping with translation, safety, transportation, and setting an example of what the next months and year will look like. They are just part of the community of people here in Bouake that have made us all feel welcomed. 
For now my days are overflowing with learning. Even as I sit in classes, I am aware of the work God is doing here. You can see it in the change of the other journeyers as they learn to relate to each other and build community, in the worship of the local churches, in the labor of a community to raise a roof, and in the personal stories you here when you visit people in their homes. It excites me to see all that God is doing and urges me on so that I might share those stories with you. 
Thank you for being part of this project so far. I am excited for the future and how we can partner together in telling these amazing stories of growth, of development, of change, of what God is doing. 

If you would like to know how you can be more involved send me an email, . I would love to help you do that and find your place as part of the team.

Your Fellow Servant,
Drew Hayes