On Saturday we had our graduation and closing ceremony. That was held at the model school in Leo, and our host families were all there. It was really quite emotional at times. We received our certificates showing that we finished the schooling necessary to teach at our assigned sites, and we exchanged gifts with our host families. Here are some of the pictures from that ceremony. (Click on each picture to see them in large format.)
I presented a certificate to my host family for hosting me for my training. Laurentine actually gave me a hug first, and that was a huge deal because it is an American custom. So I guess I taught them well. 🙂 Also, that means that even though my French wasn’t the best, we still have an awesome connection.
My birthday present that my family got me. The yellow cloth is a traditional pagne, that is very expensive. It is absolutely beautiful, and I was quite touched that they gave it to me.
They actually got me a wrapped box! We spent ten minutes taking pictures before I even opened it. Then it took five minutes to figure out all the tape on it to actually open the present. 🙂
The Florida crew: Wes, Zazie, and me
This is Kelby – his family gave him a chicken for a goodbye present. It rode on the bus with us for two hours on the bottom steps. It looked terrified. Giving chickens and food is a very common cultural tradition that expresses kindness and wealth. I personally thought it was hilarious.