I just passed a major milestone: my first Christmas away from home. Although I was anticipating the worst (locking my windows and doors, drowning my sorrows with filtered water and playing the Glee Christmas album on my ipod) it actually wasn’t a bad couple of days. Two of my closest volunteer neighbors were able to spend the holiday with me in Navielgane and it was definitely a Christmas I’ll never forget.
Hailey and Austin came in on the evening of the 24th – Hailey bearing the boxed wine we’d purchased the day before, Austin toting a chicken and a guinea hen. We were definitely at no shortage for livestock since around 7 that night my tutor shoed up with yet another chicken. Christmas day, after a breakfast of care package blueberry pancakes (thanks to Austin’s parents) we attended a four hour long (no that’s not a typo) church service held almost entirely in Dagara. We filled the rest of the day with a series of unconventional, yet delicious meals (including care package stuffing, homemade tortillas, and of course the boxed wine), puzzles, and naps. I’m still in total denial that the holiday even happened, or that time continues to pass in the U.S. in my apsence, but if I have to have holidays without my family, I’m glad I have other volunteers to share them with. And the Burkinabe too of course.
New years was spent with my neighbors and a few other people in village. Holidays here are starting to look the same when celebrated with Burkinabe: lots of chicken, pasta, and Dolo. I didn’t make it to midnight on NYE, but the real celebration here is on the first.
In a couple of weeks I’m headed o my final round of training. In December was a week of language: I had an awesome trip to see Burkina’s one and only tourist attraction- Banfora falls. Now, its off to more technical training. I’ll be spending a week in my old training site and then another in Ouaga. I’m really looking forward to this training (IST) because it means that I’ll be able to start projects when I return to Navielgane, YAY!
This past week I had a meeting with a few members of the CVD. The actual meaning of CVD escapes me as I write this but it’s basically the equivalent of the village council. I wanted to ask them what were, in their minds, the most important things for me to do or their village. It was good to hear their perspective prior to training, so that now I have some things to research, gather materials on, etc. while I have access to them in Ouaga. It was definitely one of the most productive feeling days I’ve had in village in a while.
Not much else to report on this end. I’ve received a couple of really awesome care packages in the past few weeks, so I’ll end this post by saying thank you thank you thank you to: Mom and Dad, Erin, Tim and Chris, Grammy, Pilo and John, Sam, Uncle Joe, and all the aunties! Your support means the world to me and I’m so lucky to have family and friends like you back home. Love and miss you all!