Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Sunday morning rain is falling..."

“Good ol’ K------- (my village). You never let me down!” That’s what my journal entry started with and boy, how true is that. It was technically my first full day in village and I wanted to make the most of it. After breakfast, I went with my host brother, Abdulaziz, to the pump to get some water. Holy crap, that was so far! After, Abdulaziz and my host cousin helped me with laundry for the first time…and it was actually a lot of fun!

Doing laundry!

My host brother, Abdulaziz, helping me out. Out of everyone in my family, he’s the only one that can speak French fluently.

It was such a relief to see all the dirt and sweat wash away but also kinda gross…we left them to dry around my courtyard straw gate and hut and I ended up whipping the camera to take pictures of my hut and my compound (check another blog entry for these pics!).

I decided it would also be an amazing day to clean the inside of my hut and my courtyard since I can never find the time to do it. I did lots of sweeping and rearranging until Marita and her host sister, Miriam, came over. Marita helped me re-use the blue tape my friends back home used to make sure nothing leaked in my bags. We binged on wafer cookies, Cheez-Its and Kool Aid…it’s the simple things in life, I tell you! We also talked about getting a class for French instead of Moore (one of the local languages) to improve my conversational skills…so I’m going to talk to a PC staff member when we get back to Ouahigouya…good times!

My host mom brought Marita and I some rice for lunch but she eventually had to head back home. Abdulaziz came to my courtyard to practice some English. He also told me about his family…how his mom passed away last year from sickness and how his little sister passed away the day before his mom passed away. I didn’t know what to say. We also talked about past volunteers that have stayed with them during training and he mentioned I was the first male volunteer they’ve housed! Because it was getting so hot, I needed to take a nap. So I whipped out my self-inflate mat, put on some Kanye, and headed to a sweet somber for 2.5 hours. A-mazing!

Waking up from that nap, I was dripping in sweat because it was in the middle of the day. But I ended up chilling outside with my host dad and watched him etch Koran verses from memory onto wooden tablets (think 10 Commandments except it’s the Koran). He’s a Koran teacher but it’s still impressive to me that he knows the Koran by memory.

I ended up playing Frisbee with Marita and about 20 other kids at the school’s field. It’s a good thing Marita knew some games to play…it was encouraging because boys were playing with girls but we eventually had to leave because the sun was setting. In the end, we did a cheer which almost resulted in all of them breaking my one and only Frisbee! Whew!! Seeing boys interspersed with girls brought me new hope for our club we need to start in our village for the female students!

I headed back to my compound and took a much-needed bucket bath…pretty much what I look forward to at the end of the day! While I was bathing, I could hear Marita telling me to come out to the small boutique (read: insanely small store with a gated window in the front) where they show a movie in the courtyard behind it…

I asked Abdulaziz to come with me and of course, the movie starts on WAIT (West African International Time), very similar to Filipino time. We paid 50 CFA to watch the movie which consisted of an enclosed courtyard with benches, mat in the front, and a regular-sized TV being powered by a car battery. Nothing too fancy here! After 3 Indian films that didn’t work, they put on a ‘Chinois’ film which actually turned out to be Thai. It was about this villager who avenges a sacred village object by going into Bangkok. Essentially, it was your stereotypical Asian film filed with Muy Thai and amazing tricks. I could feel the eyes stare at me since I look very much similar to the people on the screen...but I was getting a kick at how excited the villagers were whenever the main character did some crazy move. Even my other little host brother, Hassan, looked back at me from time to time in amazement. I’m all about dispelling stereotypes but this movie made me want to learn Muy Thai and show off (hahaha).

Overall, a very simple but extraordinary day in village!!


Mel said...

Yay, another blog! Haha, I laughed at the end when we said you wanted to learn Muy Thai and show off...you would say something like that. I'm glad you're able to update and that things sound like they are going well! Take care and I miss you!

MeganElizabeth said...

haha I love the story about the Chinois film! It sounds like they were all pretty impressed. You will have to learn some moves to show them :) It sounds like you are having a good time! I saw you were enjoying some snacks from home! I was just thinking of making a little package to send to you! miss you Michael! xoxo

MeganElizabeth said...


manny said...

Hi Son,
I am so happy seeing you in pictures doing some laundry. i got your packing list and I will start and sending them out asap. I am okay and every morning I work at the back yard, and sweating like spending some time at the 24 hour fitness. I hope that you were able to read my earlier comments.
Take care. Love DAD

Angelo DeGuzman said...

so good to catch up with you here, mikey. take care always.


Angelo DeGuzman said...

so good to catch up with you here, mikey. take care always.


Averill Strasser said...


I am a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Bolivia, '66-'68), and founder and COO of Water Charity, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that does water, sanitation, and public health projects worldwide.

We have just started a new initiative, Appropriate Projects, to fund small water and sanitation projects very quickly. Please check out our website at http://appropriateprojects.com and submit an application.

Even if you don't work specifically in water/san, you may want to do a small project at a community facility, clinic, or school. It could be something simple, such as piping, fixtures, water storage, pump repair, or some other needed improvement.

If you have any questions about the appropriateness of a project, just ask.

Could you pass this message on to your fellow-PCVs in Burkina Faso?

If you like what we do, could you tell others in your social networks about us?

Thanks. I wish you the best of luck in your work.

Averill Strasser

Appropriate Projects

Water Charity

Pamela Grace said...

This is funny because this is how I do my laundry at home! I don't even need a desert. I miss you Mikes.

Maria Montero said...

OMG AHHHHH!!! Best, I love you! I'm so glad you're doing well.

<3 Maria