Multiculturalism in Burkina

Burkina is extraordinarily multicultural in West Africa. It is comprised of approximately 50% Muslims, 40% Protestants and Catholics, and 10% animists. I knew that when I joined the Peace Corps that I unless I was going to Eastern Europe, I was not going to be surrounded by Jews. In Burkina I am very open about being Jewish and the Burkinabe are extraordinarily tolerant. They don’t know what being Jewish is…but, instead of being ignorant, they want to find out more about it. My host family in my training village is protestant, and I have been to Church many times. We believe in the same God, I just don’t believe that Jesus is my savior or the messiah. My site for the next two years is a nice mix of Muslims, Protestants, and Catholics. I live in the Muslim quartier of town, and my village name is Sarata, which is in Arabic. I am also fortunate to have a great family of stagaires who are very tolerant of different religions and backgrounds, in addition to another member of the tribe in my stage.

Celebrating Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will be certainly a different experience for me this year. For all of the previous high holidays, I have had the luxury of being able to go to a synagogue or a Jewish Synagogue. This year I will be observing Rosh Hashanah in my village, and then davening with another member of the tribe in Ouagadougou for Yom Kippur.

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