Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April heat.

Despite the crazy April heat, since I live here in the Southwest of Burkina Faso, temperatures have been relatively cooler and there have even been a few days of rain! Which can only mean one thing: rainy season is coming!! Meaning cooler temperatures and greenery everywhere.

Jon biked over one day and being the climber that he is, he climbed a couple of the huge trees near my house. Ali followed suit and they both ended up taking pictures, especially this cool aerial shot of me and my house. More pictures of my house to come when it gets greener down here!


Jon the Fearless Climber!

Aerial view of me and my house. What up, world?!

And some pictures for your viewing pleasure that helps describe 'a day in the life...'.

Madame Ouattara and some kids, pounding away some corn. Mmmmm.

Madame Constance and one of the cutest babies ever, Grace-Victoire.

Me taking a stab at pounding the corn. Talk about exhausting labor after doing it for a while. That's Clemence in the background, Madame Ouattara's niece.

A photo of the sky the other day. Look at how ominous the clouds look. While I love the rain, I absolutely hate the bomb-like thunder that comes with it. Which explains why I ran over to my neighbor's house that night because I was scared shitless/shaking from the thunder. Insane!! But thank God for amazing neighbors.

It's insane to think it's almost the end of April (Happy Early Birthday, Dad!) and in a month or two, the end of the school year! I've been selected as a PCVFP (Peace Corps Volunteer Facilitator Permanent) for the upcoming training (PST = Pre-Service Training) for our new set of Peace Corps Trainees come June. I'll be helping to formulate the training content, getting them acclimated to life here in Burkina Faso and just being a part of their support group. Exciting stuff! Since the students will be on vacation, this falls perfectly. And to think, I was in their place a year ago!

I swear -- and I'll say this this time and time again -- the days feel like they take an eternity but the weeks and months fly by! There have been so many instances where I think, 'Wow, you've been living here in Africa for almost a year!' If you look at the Michael back in September 2009 when I first arrived at site to the Michael right now in April 2010, you'd notice a considerable difference.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fêtes galore...COS party, Easter, oh my!!

I feel like I haven’t blogged in a while but it’s because I’ve been all over the place these past couple of weeks!

At the end of March, I had my VAC meeting and finally got to meet our new Country Director, Shannon. She’s done years of work in international development and everyone loves her! Since it’s Easter Break; I got the chance to do some in-country travelling; visiting other volunteers and heading to Ouaga too. We had the annual COS (Close of Service) party which is one of the few events where all volunteers can get together and have a good time. The the,e this year? Rubix Cube party. Genius! It’s a way to say farewell to the next group of volunteers that are near the end of their 2 years of service. Crazy to think that’ll be me in a year!

Colette and I at the Rubix Cube party. We miss you, Devin!

April’s been off to a good start as well. Despite the sweltering heat (they say April is the hottest month of the year), mango season has officially begun! Gwen came over to my site and spent Easter weekend with me.

First mango of the season!

Gwen cracking a coconut. Loves it!

Doing laundry!

Easter morning, I headed to my church and after mass, ended up talking with a lot of my friends in the community. At lunch, the Ouattaras invited me over and I had the best couscous dish. I can’t quite explain the sauce except that it had a lot of onions, tomatoes and such and even had some goat meat. Delicious! Add in a little bissap and ginger juice plus good company and consider it a great Easter. Gwen came later and she ended up being our ‘family photographer.’ It was great! I took so many pictures with the Ouattaras…here are a few:

My tailor, Mathieu and I. Sporting our US/Burkina Faso shirts. He made them!

Madame Ouattara and I eating her delicious couscous dish.

Rachid, Ali and I. These two are like two more crazy little brothers.

Clemence, Aicha, Farida and I.

Otherwise, the months ahead look to be really busy! April and May constitute the last trimester of the school year. Aside from the normal alphabet/literacy and math activities with the younger kids, I still have the Reading Club going and finally got a Girls’ Club up and running with the CM1 girls (equivalent is 4th grade). More details on that as it progresses…first meeting so far has been a success with a combination of activities in class and soccer in the end. Ali even helped me out! Baby weighings have been good as well, and I feel like the number of mothers that come in fluctuate from week to week. Jon and I even discovered a small class that teaches the blind how to read Braille…and it’s literally just past the school where I work, which could make for another interesting secondary project.

My family here in Burkina Faso.