The essence of Burkina Faso

Updated: Apr 19

The way Moussa talked about his home country in West Africa would make anyone fall in love with it. Community, he said, is what holds Burkina Faso together, and consequently, made the country so united. As he drove over the chaotic streets of New York City, he told me about the warmth of every encounter, and that regardless if it was a good friend or a stranger, it had the power to make everything better.

In Burkina Faso, he said, no matter who you are or where you’re from, everyone is willing to help and come together for a common cause. Moussa moved to the U.S. four years ago for better opportunities. He lives a simple life in New Jersey, where he works for Uber in New York City. His work schedule is not based on hours, but rather on a goal that ensures he has a good work-life balance while paying his bills. Once he reaches his goal, he makes his way back home

With the same car that he makes a living with, he goes on solo trips across the U.S. He once drove 20 hours over a few days to Nebraska. He made a few stops in Wisconsin and Minnesota to see his friends, and then went on to his final destination. With a love for country music, he hopes to visit Tennessee during the summer to see firsthand the birthplace of one of his favorite music genres.

Moussa enjoys cooking homemade meals and reading the news after work to improve his English. I thought to myself he was being silly for thinking that his English wasn’t good enough, after all, we were having an hour-long conversation thanks to the NYC traffic. But he insisted he needed to get better, and it made me realize something. The key to mastering anything in life is the consistent exercise of the mind and the brain. That’s what Moussa makes sure to do every day. As soon as he turns his engine on, he drives to the nearest newspaper stand and grabs a copy of the latest issue available. Once he gets home, he prepares dinner and reads the biggest headlines from around the world while practicing his pronunciation.

His accent, however, had a beautiful story behind it. It shows the grit of someone who left his country and everything he knew behind in pursuit of a better life in the U.S. His baggage might have contained some piece of clothing and a few other personal belongings — most of which might have been material goods. The other luggage, however, had more weight than anything else. Moussa brought with him a piece of Burkina Faso, filled with the culture, values and customs he grew up with. He brought with him his story, and as he continues to write a new chapter in America, he shares the grip, determination and persistence of being an immigrant in the U.S.

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