Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February = month of sickness, lots of dust and the beginning of HOT season

Oh February. Damn, damn February.

Sickness. After Devin left, I headed back to site and all of a sudden, started to feel really congested. It started with a sore throat, followed by what seemed like a cold/progressive fever. I'd wake up every night in a sweat and wouldn't be able to fall back asleep. Add that to a build-up of mucus and then it hit me...

The weather! It's starting to get hot, hot, hot. This might be too much information but I'll say it anyway since it's my blog (haha). When I sleep, I usually wear nothing except for my underwear. But at night nowadays, I can barely sleep because there's absolutely no breeze plus the heat is just stifling. Ughh.

Back to sickness, I noticed even my students were coughing up a storm when I came in to do the alphabet project. Seriously, it's like I couldn't even get anything done because they were all coughing away, ten at a time! Apparently if you couple the Harmattan winds + dust EVERYWHERE (no joke) + the beginning of hot season...well, it's almost like a recipe for disaster and sickness. Take for example yesterday. After my dentist appointment, I was in downtown Ouaga and there was a sign that said the temperature. Mind you, it was a little after 5pm when the sun is setting...and no joke, it was 39 degrees C or 102 degrees F. Whew!

It's funny because during training, all anyone would mention is that the end of February to early May (especially April) are the worst months for heat. The Burkinabe even say, "Nous souffrons aussi" meaning "we also suffer" when it comes to the heat. Which can't be good because they LIVE here! Oyy vey.

In any case, let's see...a couple of nights ago, Pascal came by and was kind enough to cook dinner. He's a kid in 6eme (the equivalent being 6th grade at the middle school), his dad is the school director of one of the primary schools and boy, is he smart! I help him out with English and he has a genuine passion to learn the language which is always good for me to see.

Pascal cooking some spaghetti chez moi. Good kid!

Madame Ouattara also just came back from Bobo-Dioulasso (the second biggest city in BF) from an almost week-long language tutor training hosted by the Peace Corps. She enjoyed it so much and said she learned more about the Peace Corps than she would've ever from Anne, Clay or myself (me plus the two other volunteers before me) because they went into such detail about what the Peace Corps is about around the world!

I'm excited to say that I'm starting to learn one of the local languages now: Jula/Dioula! It's a language primarily spoken in Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire but the beauty is that it's a close cousin to Bambara, one of the main languages in Mali. It's a language of commerce/trade so many people in West Africa are bound to understand some of it! This is super exciting because I hope to be able to be somewhat proficient in Jula before I head back to the US in 2011!

Also, a few days ago, I felt like a reach a new level of comfortability at my site. I talked to one of my closest friends back home, Sable, about it last night. It's just a refreshing feeling and I feel like it's not one that's short-lived. I went to church on Sunday and was overwhelmed by the recognition by students and their parents and people I either work or interact with on an almost daily basis. Even with Ali and Rachid, they're seriously like my little brothers -- we joke around all the time and man, it just feels good to be this comfortable. I'd rather be back at site than being here at Ouaga (by the way, I'm here in Ouaga because the crown on my tooth came off as I was eating something back at site...really bizarre so I had to come back to Ouaga to get it fixed).

Well, that's all for now. Catch you all on the flipside, folks!

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