The hardest thing about hosting an exchange student is having to say goodbye and watch them board a plane that will take them away, possibly forever.
It was our first experience of hosting an exchange student, and I had some serious doubts about it before Hannah arrived – firstly, our lifestyle here is really rustic and frugal, and secondly we do not have the comforts and security that she would have been used to at home. Would she be able to cope with the heat, snakes and the bugs? I had so many questions.
Hannah arrived and slotted into our life so smoothly, even learning to use our funny accent on the new words she learned. We never struggled at all with language, and only twice did she have to draw me pictures to explain something (crochet hook and safety-pin). She handled her schooling here like a pro, and by the first week knew most of the students names. She is just one of those people who everyone likes – making new friends at every turn.
I was fascinated as I watched the Bean and Hannah interact – I saw how my own child fell in love with our life here as she taught Hannah all about it. It was as if she saw everything through new eyes. I think this is the greatest gift that Hannah has given me.
Farewell Hannah – thank you for the wonderful experience! There is now a piece of Africa in your heart to stay.
Hopefully Hannah will be returning next year with her family for a holiday.