This year's Burkina Faso Outtatown spent a morning picking "earth peas" with a farmer and his 4-yr-old son.

This year’s Burkina Faso Outtatown spent a morning picking “earth peas” with a farmer and his 4-yr-old son.

When I finished high school, I had no clue what I wanted to do. I decided to take a break from school, hoping to discover what I was passionate about. I ended up on the Outtatown French Africa program.

We spent three months travelling through Francophone Canada (Winnipeg, Quebec City, and Montreal); Burkina Faso (in West Africa); and France. Over this time, we volunteered with many organizations, where we met interesting people and were pushed to look at the world in a different way.

Outtatown’s motto is, “knowing God, knowing yourself, knowing the world,” and this is the best way to summarize my experience.

Knowing God

In Outtatown, I learned that God speaks in so many ways. Through conversations with people in my group from different faith backgrounds, I began to see God beyond my own experience. I learned to worship in new ways, both in Canada and Burkina Faso. By witnessing how those around me lived their faith, I was challenged to grow in new ways and pay closer attention to God’s presence in my own life.

Knowing Yourself

I realized that I was capable of more than I gave myself credit for. Being surrounded by a loving community, I was able to do things that I never would have been able to do otherwise. I went bungee jumping, even though I am terrified of heights, and learned that I love adventuring. I also realized that I am passionate about building relationships with people who have a different story than myself, and asking what it would look like if the world was just. This love of adventure and social justice has continued in my studies and as I seek out new opportunities for adventure.

Knowing the World

I experienced a world that is broken and hurting, but filled with courageous people. Through my readings and conversations, I was struck by poverty as well as the people making a difference. Though the world can feel hopeless in the face of such issues, the people I met lived with the hope that things can change, and called me to that as well.

Every time people ask me about my experience, I answer that it was one of the best choices I ever made. It was a time when I was supported in asking questions, had a lot of fun, and learned what it meant to grow and change.


The Outtatown visit day is November 23! Sign up here.