dimanche 1 février 2009

General Update

Hello People! I'll see you all in 6 months! Yay!!

Yes, I may be counting down the months BUT things are going well in Burkina. I'm just ready to be part of my own culture again and more than anything a tangible part of y'all's lives again. With only six months left to go I've thrown myself into my village trying to get everything out of it that I can. I just spent 5 un-interrupted weeks there and I'll probably only leave village once a month for the rest of my service.

One reason that i'll be leaving less is because I have started a new project. There is a group of 7 nuns that live in my village and run several operations. They are all Burkinabe excpet one who is

Ivoirian (Ivory Coast). There they are in the picture up above! Two of them work at a private catholic elementary school. Two are nurses. One runs a pharmacy. One runs a girls technical school (the girls learn how to sew, knit, crochet, and dye fabrics). The last one (the one seated at the far right), Sister Anastasie, teaches french at the high school with me. She was telling me one day that the Nuns all love English and would like to learn so i offered to teach them. We have class on thursdays and saturdays for one hour. I ADORE them!! They are super cute and laugh a lot and give me things (yogurt, lemon juice, pagne). So, i like to stay on the weekends in village now because i don't want to lose an hour with the Sisters. Also, we are planning to do some other projects together on malnutrition.

Other than the Sisters, much is the same for me. School started the 5th of January and goes til the 21st of March. EEK!! L'enseignement vas me tuer. C'est sur. So my life is lesson planning and grading tests. And dreaming about being back in America. AMERICA!!

I'll be back in Ouaga probably around the 28th. That weekend is FESPACO which is a huge african film festival that Burkina hosts every two years. Should be interesting.

Eloise is (i'm pretty sure) pregnant again. Well, last week she started acting all crazy and these two boy cats kept hanging out at my house making all kinds of racket and keeping me up at night. One even followed Eloise inside my house through her "kitty door" in the window. Not cool. I've had enough of this kitty kat courtship business and Eloise will be getting spayed here shortly (slash maybe an abortion depending on how you look at things). Kittens! I am tired of kittens!

Let's see . . . can't really think of anything else. My life is cool but not a lot happens. Ok, c'est tout. A bientot!


January 20th.

There was no way I was gonna miss the inauguration. I, like so many Americans, am suffering from chronic Obamania. I wanted to hear the world change, hear his speech. However, you have to have a pretty fancy radio to pick up BBC in my village. No prob Bob, my neighbor David inherited a satellite radio from the volunteer i replaced and lent it to me for the special event. On the 19th I checked to make sure the batteries were good and the radio was in good working condition. I was trying to be (however uncharacteristically) prepared. The radio itself has a 20 ft or so cord that connects its to the antenna. I tried to find a good spot that got reception and was out of the way of Salmad the one year old's curious hands. Again, are y'all proud? I was planning ahead!! Not one of my best skills. All was working and looking good.

The 20th arrived and I was kinda anxious because the broadcast started at 5pm out time but I was giving a test at school that ended at 5 so i was gonna have to haul ass back home in order not to miss anything. I leave the school a few minutes before five. Im basically skipping with joy as I arrive home. Two of my neighbors were there and Bienvenue. I go inside and bring the radio out and set it up in the exact configuration that was working the day before. And SILENCE. What???? SILENCE!!!???? NO!!!!!! The speech! The Speech!!! History is being made!! Come on!

I'm cursing in english at this point. Quickly i grab my bike and book it over to a colleagues house. "Yelkouni! Does your radio get BBC??!"
"Bon soir Rebecca! But why are you not listening to the broadcast?"
"Radio's not working. Does your radio get BBC?"
"Oh, BBC? No but if you . . . hey! where are you going?!"
And I'm off back to my house - certainly i can get that thing to work. I get home and start yelling for Bienvenue "Bienvenue get over here and grab ahold of this radio while i run around the yard looking for reception!" So I start trying different spots in the courtyard wandering around the yard (ok running around) trying to get some seception and basically dragging Bienvenue who is attached to me with that twenty foot cord between the radio and the antenna. I send him up on the roof. Silence. I am definately cursing. But wait!! Aha!!! I finally get a signal with the antenna perched up on my courtyard wayy by the gate. Quick Bienvenue bring me a chair! Bring me a table!! Quick!

And there is Barak's deep comforting voice talking about the economy, the war, foreign aid, etc and I can't help but feel like I am in a movie. Im sitting in a chair made out of skinny tree switches and translating this great man's speech into french. Close up it's me and the radio. The camera pans out. There's a twenty something dusty white woman sitting in an even more dusty and barren courtyard speaking to a 15 yr old African kid, another twenty something african woman doing laundry with her hands deep in a plastic bucket, and an elderly woman with carmel colored paper like skin. The camera pans out further. The courtayrd is surrounded by a bunch of huts. Women are walking with babies on the backs and 40 pounds of god knows what balanced on their heads. There are some scrubby trees and a dusty breeze. Its the middle-of-nowhere deep in the middle-of-nowhere in west africa. And the soundtrack is this man's speech and all the hope and promise that he is bringing. He's talking about his roots in a Kenyan village not too unlike the one in which I am in translating his words. It's very peace corps and even i cant be too cynical not to feel that the moment is unique and special.