Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mission accomplished: I set Burkina on fire!

After traveling to Ouaga how many times in the past few weeks (for Devin’s farewell and to go to the dentist to get my tooth crown fixed), it’s definitely nice to be back at site. I made sure to stop by Gaoua to visit Kyle and Jon…and to pick up mail from friends and family. I’m just overwhelmed by the packages and letters I’ve received so THANK YOU so much. It’s like a little piece of the U.S./home which is definitely needed here in Burkina Faso every once in a while. After; I stayed the night at Jon’s before heading back to my site.

Getting a package from Patrici and Gina! Thanks, homies!

17 days. More than half a month I hadn’t seen Jon which is bizarre because we live so close and see each other at least once a week! So it was back to old times again, cooking good food, talking about current/future work projects and just laughing about anything and everything. In the Lobi culture, they say that for men, they are first warriors, which explains why using a bow and arrow is such a traditional Lobi thing. So Jon got Kyle and I our own bows and arrows! More pictures to come when we actually practice with a target (I’m thinking after the school year is over and the weather isn’t so hot).

Jon's gonna kill me for posting this. But look at his face! Priceless.

Barack Obama came for a visit!

Look at the bottom righthand corner. It definitely says 123F! It is SO DAMN HOT.

Dorian and Seuss, my favorite kids at Jon's site.

Finally getting back to site last week was such a relief. I feel so welcome now (more than before) and it’s great to have such amazing neighbors. I can’t speak any higher of the Ouattara family! They really just took me in as one of their own, and more and more everyday, I find myself over at their place when I’m not occupied with something at the house, at the school or at the CSPS (village medical center). I’m excited to celebrate Easter with them come the beginning of April! Ali and Rachid are like my little brothers now and Farida, Aïcha and Clémence are like the little sisters I’ve never had. What’s even better is that Madame Ouattara is my Jula/Dioula tutor and has excellent teaching skills. I’ve only had a few lessons so far but they’ve been really good and I’m hoping I can speak Jula before I leave in 2011. It’ll help if I want to work with people that can’t speak much French (proper nutrition for women and their babies, activities with the women’s association, etc.). Jula is spoken throughout Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire, as well as Mali, eastern Senegal and parts of the Gambia (although the vocabulary varies a little) – which, to me, is absolutely incredible. Hèèrè dòròn (it’s very good)!

The bat that lives in my house. Any suggestions for names?

'Nelson Mandela' aka Ali makes an appearance on the blog again.

Helping Clémence with her sugared peanuts business.


Work wise, the alphabet project is extremely successful and next school year; I want to replicate it with other primary schools in the region. The kids go nuts for the stickers as little prizes (thanks to all of you who sent me stickers!) and it’s just a creative approach to learning. Baby weighings at the CSPS are going well. Pretty much a Thursday morning routine. Last time, I helped with over 100 baby weighings! Despite the fact that the babies pee everywhere and the incessant crying, it’s nice to be out there in the community. Hopefully my Jula lessons will help me work with the mothers before I leave. I talked to the CE1 teacher (equivalent is 2nd grade) and I’ll be starting a Reading Club next week, meeting with groups of 5 students after school for an hour. I bought a bunch of French children’s books from Ouaga so I’ll have the kids read aloud, then ask comprehension questions to ensure they actually understand what they’re reading! More projects on the way as March and April approach…



Tiptoe21 said...

I'm glad you're having a great experience. I'm so proud of you mikey =)

as for bat names, how about "Miles Francis"? haha

MeganElizabeth said...

Yay! Michael! Whoa it does get hot there! I've never been anywhere that hot before. Here at home, it only gets to about 114 in the summer, and by that point I'm dying. I can only imagine what it must be like there! I'm excited that you are receiving so many packages! haha I saw the Obama magazine I sent you! hehe :) Love that Ali kid too! He TOTALLY looks like Nelson! :) xoxo Bisous mon frere!

Marisa said...

Name your bat COUNT... as in Dracula or Chocula or The Count from Sesame Street!