Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sophomore Status

I can’t believe three weeks have already passed since IST. Although I haven’t gotten into a steady “work routine,” short meetings and day trips to Diebougou have made the time go by. What have I been up to: Trips to the C.E.G. (middle school), starting an English club/tutoring sessions, discussing a girls soccer team, baby vaccinations with Hayley at the CSPS staff, a meeting with the AME (PTA for moms), working on a compost pit in my courtyard (for an eventual garden), continuing Dagara lessons, rearranging my kitchen (it’s the little things), and teaching some kids the art of Frisbee throwing (courtesy of Dad). Of course I came back from IST raring to start a bunch of projects, but a combination of miscommunications, holidays (happy belated Muhammad), and time constraints, of course everything hasn’t exactly panned out as imagined. But at least I have some directions of where I’m headed.

This week I’m in Bobo for a few days. Partly because every four months we are required to submit a detailed report of everything we do, including number of participants, their ages etc. and how it relates to the overall goals of the Peace Corps as well as the specific goals of our sectors. Another reason is because the president of the Friends of Burkina Faso is in country, making his way around to meet as many current volunteers as are interested. FBF is an organization of returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVS – we love acronyms) who contribute to and produce a newsletter about the goings on of the Peace Corps in Burkina. Additionally, they serve as a funding organization for current volunteer projects etc. The current president was a well digger during his service in the seventies. It has been interesting to hear how much things have changed since his time here.

Over the past three weeks I’ve learned a few things about my village that I wasn’t previously aware of. First that there are actually closer to 2,000 people here instead of the 6,000 my homologue mentioned/ Second, that the ‘road’ I run on a few mornings a week actually passes through 2 different villages that the whole time I actually thought were Navielgane (after all it’s not like there is a “welcome to Danko Tanzu” sign in the middle of the bush). Third, the majority of my village is on the other side of the highway (no wonder I was so confused about where these thousands of people life). Fourth, apparently I’m only 60K from the border of Ghana (…). And last, a bit of cultural information: if you are at a party and get in a fist fight with someone and they get hurt you have to give a goat to the Chef du Terre to sacrifice. (This last bit of info I found out because apparently 2 women were at a ‘traditional’ party where people are basically inducted to be able to perform certain rituals, and they got into a boxing match, one of them injuring the other, therefore is now required to give up a goat – all of this I heard 3rd hand).

Speaking of parties, international women’s day is coming up – March 8. As a Girls Empowerment Volunteer, I feel the need to make a shout out. I’ll be spending it in a village about 7k from me where the regional celebration for this year is going to be. I’m told it will involve a parade, speeches, dancing, and of course, matching pagne outfits. I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures to document the fashion I’m sporting these days.

That’s about all the news for now. It’s getting hot here and while apparently March and April are the worst, we’ve already had several days over 100. If someone could invent a solar powered air conditioner and send it to me, that would be great! Until next time…

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