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From a host’s view: A new role model

December 21, 2009

Rachel Garst is the host mom of Ishaku Abner of Gombe State, Nigeria. They live in Coon Rapids, Iowa, and “Big Shak” attends Coon Rapids-Bayard High School. In this post, Garst tells why having an exchange student from Africa has benefitted her family.

Ishaku with his host siblings

Hosting an exchange student has been great for me and my kids.

At my house, it used to be that there was a lot of bickering over basic chores and homework. Now, when I give my four kids chores, one of them (Shak) always says, “Yes, Mom” and then does the chore immediately.

Ditto with getting the homework done. What a great role model! The other kids see this and also become better helpers and students.

Shak is a great kid and definitely pulls his own weight in our household.

The best thing of all is to see him relax and start to fit in. He’s really starting to feel like part of the family. Now, he also digs in the fridge and teases right back.

I can see the kids are starting to develop their own relationships with him, not just with explaining U.S. life or asking questions about Africa, but on the level of personalities and how we each get along and bounce off each other day to day — how we can tell when someone is tired or pumped or angry or worried or too busy and how the rest of us deal with the person through those moments.

Living with someone day-by-day is definitely the best way to really, really get to know them, and they, you.

One Comment leave one →
  1. iriscenter permalink
    January 4, 2010 9:46 PM

    Here’s one more… this is the most famous one, but it’s all over the world and not just in Iowa.

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