In Bangou they have this cool thing where every year during the summer break, kids between 16 and 24 who go to school and live elsewhere, come back to Bangou, set up two big tents (one for boys, one for girls), and stay in the village for two weeks, learn the culture, the language of their village, and help with community projects. They call these reunions ‘The Congress’. It’s a really cool thing and next year, now that I’m aware of it, I would love for AADB to help with it.

These kids, whose parents work in one of the large towns or sent them to a larger town to get a better education, come back and ground themselves in their village and get to know each other for two weeks. This has been going on for the last 50 years. I am positive this develops kids into better rounded adults.

If I ever have a kid, I am going to do something like this, and either send them here to Bangou or to Panama, every year, to learn about a different culture and become part of a community like this. This reminds me of one of the strengths of the US, which turns out to also be one of its weaknesses.

America can absorb different cultures, people and ideas better than any other country in the world, but at the cost of losing the depth of a long history and cultural identity. This in my opinion can be turned into a strength for a village like Bangou. Something like this wouldn’t work nearly as well in the US because unlike Bangou, each city or town doesn’t have its own language, history and tradition that everyone participates in. That may be why some many Americans are so drawn to other parts of the world after living in other countries.