By Antoinette N. Weah (YES 2018-2019, Liberia, placed by ACES in Oroville, CA)
Until now, my host family visit still feels like a dream. I knew that they missed me and couldn’t stop asking when I’ll be back in the U.S. to visit them, but it never crossed my mind that they would come to see me, love my people, gift my church, and be there physically to learn about my culture.
While on my exchange year, I built a very strong bond with my host parents. I told them about my country and especially the blessings and fun things we have in Liberia that we usually don’t appreciate. Swimming, the Christmas holiday, and volunteering (especially during the Paradise fire) are some of my fondest memories from my YES year. Returning home was hard because I was sad to leave my host family but excited to come home. My host mom and I cried the entire night before my departure. We kept in touch on the internet in our host family group chat.
My host family went to Liberia in May to undertake missionary work and visit me. I was overwhelmed with joy when they told me that they wanted the full experience of Liberia and will sleep, eat, and do everything I do here, know my people, love them, and have fun. I showed them how to cook some Liberian dishes, wash the Liberian way, shop in our open market, carry water in buckets from the pump, shower with a bucket, our different ways of church worship, our means of transport (especially on a bike or a Keke), my high school, the ice cream stand, some historical sites, and beaches.
Having them over to visit was an experience that I just can’t express in words and it’s one of the most memorable memories of my life. To be honest, I lived for every moment they spent here. The whole time of their visit was my favorite two weeks of the entire year. There was never a dull moment with them and every day was just as good as the past one.