Its been quite some time

4 05 2011

Hello hello!

First I am sooo sorry I haven’t written since December. I have no excuse except I didn’t feel compelled to write since I speak to a lot of my friends and family regularly. But now I feel the need to write about what’s been going on recently and how it has affected me mentally and emotionally. I will type it out once I’m in bobo this Friday. Until then know that I love you all and miss you like crazy.

Also please check out my Peace Corps project online and donate!!! Banzon needs your help!


hangars, hang-ups, and heat stroke!

20 10 2010

Well I’m back. It has been a little while, I apologize. It’s just difficult to make myself sit down when it’s super hot and just sitting makes me sweat profusely. Anyway let me move onto the updates.

I never finished that last blog. I have it written down on paper but haven’t finished putting it online with my blackberry. I will have to do that soon!

So first a shout out to the Delaware crew for the amazing package I got two weeks ago! It was full of tupperware which in turn were full of goodies! Canned chicken breast, tuna, some spam just like poppop used to love, candy, oreos, dryer sheets to freshen up the place, a shirt, and much much more. I think I gained 5 pounds just after two days of eating my way through that marvelous surprise! But on a more serious note regarding the tupperware…I used the tupperware to bring some candy to my friends at the restaurant. When they saw the tipperware it was like an American getting the first look at the newest iPhone. Their eyes lit up, their smiles widened, and they were fighting for a chance to hold it. Then one of the girls started talking about how great it would be to have something like that. She said she could use on long trips to pack herself food instead of being hungry on the bus. She mentioned how she could keep her food longer and not worry about having to waste food and how she could make herself a nice sauce and put a small fish in there and bring it to work with her so she wouldn’t have to worry about eating while at work. Something so simple and silly to use has so much use here and there is so much more appreciation. Needless to say, I did not make it home with my tupperware. I ended up giving one to Delphine and one to sanata. I still have a lot (thanks family for sending so many!) but I just felt so selfish for having so many and not caring as much about them.
I forgot to mention my trip in to Bobo to get the package! Well silly me decided I was going to bike all the way into Bobo from my site which is like 60-65 km…never having biker more than maybe 10 at one time lol. I made it about half way and at 35 km I told my host brother we needed to stop and hop on the next truck that is going to Bobo. I was dead! When we got into Bobo I had to jump off the truck and when I did my knees buckeled and I face planted into the dry red earth that takes the place of roads here. That was quite embarrassing and made me look even more dirty than I had already become due to biking in a dusty country such as Burkina. The day was a chaotic mess of biking from and to the peace corps bureau and the post office then back again then to the truck stop. I was so exhausted when I got home but a box of reese’s pieces really helped me feel better 🙂

Mostly everything else is the same here. I have language (either self taught or tutor) in the morning, I go around the village talking to people and seeing what’s on their minds, eat, work out, eat some more, read my kindle, and then pass out. Pretty good life. I really am getting used to living in and belonging in my village. I recently went to ouaga for a short weekend trip and the whole time I was wanting to go back to Banzon. Its nice having friends and “family” here and knowing people and knowing where to get everthing you need and not worrying about being taken advantage of or hassled like always happens in Ouaga. But I did really enjoy the company of some of my closest peace corps friends, some great food cooked by yours truly and Kristin chantry AKA “Trouble” as we like to call her, and of course catching up on Glee, Dexter, Modern family and Cougar Town!

This week has been more work focused. Trying to figure out the right contacts at the rice cooperative who actually know what’s going on with the ADF funds that are coming in because apparently the president of the coop has no clue? And trying to get a copy of the interiour rules and by-laws of my host association as required by my etude de milieu. Also I’m getting things ready for the new volunteers who are coming to my site for demyst next week! This includes getting activities ready, cleaning my humble abode, and getting my new hangar built! That has been going on all day and will finish probably by Friday. We have to wait for the cement to dry and then wait for the seko to be finished (think like basket weave but with bigger plants and its more durable). Overall I think it will cost me around $22.50 US. Not too shabby huh?

As always I have some hang ups mainly language. Maybe I have unreal expectations but I just expected me to be much closer to fluent in french by now and its really irritation when I still don’t know what words people are saying or I stumble through explaining my thoughts. And then there us dioula and I thought by now I could hold a simple conversation, which I kind of can, but it’s seriously like pulling teeth out. It will be fine I’m sure I’m just super impatient…thanks for that gene mom! Haha JK I think that’s a Gallagher jean not just Linda ;P

Well I think that’s all for now. Maybe if I keep these a little shorter I won’t dread typing them on my blackberry so much haha!

Love you all and miss you more than you can imagine.

Ala ka su heere!

N togo ko LEGA Tenga!

9 10 2010

Let me start by saying this post takes place over a few days so it might be a little disjointed. Plus I’m typing this on my blackberry so have patience! Haha

Today I’m going into Bobo. Currently I’m in the truck waiting to leave. Its 7:30 am. I love taking the bus in the morning because the people love seeing me and I feel really welcomed each time I come. This morning it rained pretty hard so I alomost didn’t come, let’s hope the roads aren’t too bad! Yesterday was a fun day, I started with a teeny bit of Dexter then my morning dioula lesson. The lesson was focused on the market place so we went to the marchĂ© and reviewed the names of things, how to ask for prices, how to ask them to lower the price, etc. The greatest part was that after I was done discussing everything I wanted with the vendors, my teacher ended up buying for me! It is amazing how generous people are here. They have so little, especially compared to me, but they still use their small amount of expendable income to buy little gifts for me, like my teacher did. After dioula I rested a little chez moi and made some popcorn. This is something I do too often these days. But it tastes so good! Maybe it’s just because in Burkina anything with the slightest hint of flavor tastes amazing, but I swear it just plain tastes better here when I make it on my little stove. I think I’ve gone a little crazy.

When I was dobee devouring the popcorn that should have lasted a normal person two days, I went to hang out with Delphine at the restaurant. It was so hot though that I had to sit in the back where there is the big hangar so it seems cooler. Eventually Del cam to join me as well as her brother and his friends. One of her brother’s friends was currently at university studying math and computers. He is in the process of getting his doctorate! I love seeing cases like that because it is so against the norm, especially in a smaller village like my own. I ate lunch with them at the restaurant because the thought of cooking in that heat did not appeal AT ALL!

I left the restaurant after I was finished eating and returned home. Once home I decided to read some of Le petite prince, only fair since the whole morning was spent on dioula. I’m wishing more and more each day that I could have come into this experience having learned more french. That way I could have spent more time focusing on dioula during stage and not worrying about getting the basic french down. Now I learned a ton in stage regarding french, I was impeased with myself and much I was able to grow in those weeks, but it just would have been better to grow that much in local language. Also the teachers were great and knew how to teach adult learners. I’m learning more and more that that is a rare find here, or maybe its just my current tutor. it’s really difficult now to choose which language I should focus my learning on. I haven’t mastered french yet so clearly I need to still work on that, and I want to live in France after peace corps so I need to get a lot better if I hope to live and work there. But on the other hand, to become a true village member here dioula would be better. When people are just chatting around me, it is not french they choose, it is dioula. I think I just have to spend half my time on french and half my time on dioula. For dioula my focus is vocab and sentence structure and then I can just go to the marchĂ© and practice with the ladies. For french I need to keep reading dench literature, magazines, and newspapers to expand my conversational competency. Also I will listen to French radio to better my aural comprehension since radio personalities speak so quick, it will be good practice. Lastly I have to force myself to continue speaking with a Parisian accent. It is really easy to just copy the BurkinabĂ© accent which isn’t how I really want to sound. I love the sound of a native French accent!

Anyway, back to my day…I was reading my book when my host sister, Aminata, started speaking to me in dioula and amazingly I knew what she was saying! She was asking me for help with her rice because the rain was coming and she needed to put it back in the sacks. She was amazed as much as I was that I knew what she was saying and my host mother started laughing in excitement as well. Then Ami told me that I understand more dioula then the previous volunteers and that I was becoming more BurkinabĂ© by the day. Then I picked up the small bundle of straw used here as brooms (which work really well surprisingly) and started sweeping the rice into a pile. Ami loved it! While we were scooping up rice, me Ami and her mom, I told them that the marchĂ© ladies gave me an African name. It is LEGA Tenga. LEGA is the last name of my host family. They both loved it and started laughing and now only call me Tenga. We managed to get the rice into safety just a minute or two before the rain hit. In dioula to say that rain is coming you say: sanji bi na na.

*** I’m currently at the maternity ward waiting for my friend Sanata to gave her baby so I’ll have to finish this later. Hopefully I will have good news of a lovely little baby next time!

Talk soon… Love you all!