jeudi 6 septembre 2007

Ritual and Moving In

When i moved into my house in Tougouri, no one had been inside for three or four months. And you could tell. It took me two days to clean it and make it liveable. However, the volunteer who lived there before me left everything there so i actually have furniture. There is a small living room/kitchen. Then a joining small bedroom - it is the perfect amount of space for me! Slowly I have been starting to build ritual for my days. Comfort in the familiar, right? My days revolve around the marche schedule - because a marche day means VEGGIES! yay! nutrition! At 6:30 i get out of bed and eat leftover french bread and drink earl gray tea (with powdered milk in it - i know . . . but actually it is really good). Then i do chores, read, sudoku, and kill time until 10 when i go run errands on the main road and/or go to the marche. I buy things for my house or for me . . . burkina faso football jersey . . . buckets for water . . . cookware. And of course bread and veggies and things like that. The marche is only every three days so i have to make the veggies last. Then i go take a nap. Around 5 i go for a walk and maybe hang out with my Dolo lady who is really nice to me (dolo is a barely alcoholic libation made from millet and fermented for 24 hrs - i really just partake for the socal aspect). Theni ride my bike by the barage for sunset. Man is that gorgeous or what? The barage (reservoir) is a huge oasis and there are lilly pads, huge gnarly trees (that look like live oaks and pecan trees), people walking with 40lbs of stuff on their head, and unfortunatley an occasional bather ("Hey! That's my drinking water!" is what passes in my head - dont worry mom i filter and bleach my water). I nest and make my house MY house. The days are slow and full of languages i barely speak. I love the solitude far more than i thought i would. Slowly my two rooms are becoming mine and eventually that will stretch out into my courtyard and that space will feel like me too. Then, it will go even further and i will be Burkinabe and they wont shout Nasara! at me. And i can finally start to do what i originally set out to do. You cant make any kind of sustainable difference in the lives of a community if you remain outside of it - integration is why peace corps works. so thats what i gotta do.

How Did I Get Here?

Well, yes . . . obviously by plane (actually people ask me that alot - how does one get to africa from the us?) But what im really marvelling at is all the things i do everyday that i would never have expected i could or would. I remember once about 6 months ago I was reading a personal testimony on the peace corps website about Burkina Faso. The woman was talking about how she has to pick bugs out of her rice before she cooks it etc. and how she lives in a hut. It made me cry - I though what in the world do i think i am doing? Bugs in my food? I dont DO that! But now, i DO do that. And you know what? It is not a big deal at all. I love my tiny hut/house (i have a metal roof so it is not really a hut). I take transport alone and can manage just fine. Sometimes I even find myself speaking french or understanding french without having to think first. I make Burkina-ism's all the time just naturally. Cool.

Where I live is on the outskirts of town. There is a main road that runs right thru Tougouri and i live off of a foot path off of the main road. The walk from the main road to my house is about 6 or 7 minutes long and it is glorious! It is a narrow dirt/mud path that winds through squat baobabs, portly straw thatched huts, corn, sorghum, millet. There are herds of animals, the resevoir off in the distance, tall fluffy clouds with broad flat bottoms as far as you can see. Women with babies on their backs and buckets of water on their heads. How did i get here? It just fills me with joy - I almost shout "THIS IS SO COOL!!!!" I cant believe this is my life. How cool am I?