After my amazing trip back home from Americaland, it was back to Burkina Faso and the start of a great milestone in my Peace Corps service: the beginning of my second and final year!
When I got back to site in the beginning of October (with a crazy-busy schedule of working PST and going back home the couple of months prior), the feeling was different. A GOOD different. Like I felt more at ease than I've ever felt before. Like I had more of my niche. French seemed to roll off the tongue more. Jula (at least the basic greetings) were easier to go through. Biking around town and near my house, people would shout my name or I'd just recognize more people/friends. In all, things just felt more natural...
...except for work. Someone should have told me that the first trimester of your second year as a GEE PCV will still require a lot of patience! I arrive in October, Action Plan in-hand, ready to get started projects immediately until I realized how debilitating going through protocol can be here in Burkina Faso -- greeting all the authorities, making your work plans known, waiting for their approval and whatnot. Sheesh! For almost more than a month, I was pretty much waiting to get primary work projects started. Fortunately, it seemed to be the same for my other fellow GEE PCVs in my training group.
Such is the life living in another country. At the end of the day, you just enjoy the experience you've been given and appreciate the company of friends and 'family' here in Burkina Faso...and I did just that. Enjoy the pictures!
Grace-Victoire and I. Grace is my neighbor (Madame Constance's) daughter. Super cute! She used to be scared of me but now I think she's grown a little attached to me now. =)
Jon and his gift of Hostess cupcakes, his one request when I came back from America. Funny thing is, you can't see how flat they became, haha.
"Helping out" my friend Clémence fan the charcoal to cook food. She cracks me up everyday!
Aicha with Albertine and Clémence making her infamous caramel toffee ball candies. Mmmm!
A closer look at the caramel toffee balls...oh Ali. I don't know how this kid learned the middle finger...lol...
Now that Grace can start walking, she likes playing this game of hide-and-seek behind your back. Really cute!
Aicha and Madame Ouattara making their infamous gateau biscuits. Mmmm! They're so good when they're freshly cooked.
I seriously have a clothing obsession. These aren't even all the shirts I've got made here in Burkina!
So I have this outdoor kitchen area that I don't use. The door doesn't have a lock/handle so when it gets really windy or rainy, the door flies open and shuts all the time, making this really scary noise. So I tied string around it to keep the door shut. When I went home in September, I come home to discover my string was stolen. Not a big deal, right? But I decided to leave a little note in case the thief came by and wanted to guilt trip him/her. =)
Okay, so half my pictures are of Grace. Whaaat?! I can't help it - I love kids!
Cooking 'igname ragout,' one of my most favorite Burkinabè dishes. Mmm!
Some of my kids all dressed up in their party attire. They're so cute! They're celebrating Tabaski, one of the biggest Muslim holidays.
Excellent shot! Compliments of Jon.
Jon and Hercules!
Hercules and I! I don't want him to get any bigger. But seriously, one of the most adorable dogs ever. Isn't necessarily the brightest crayon in the box but he'll do...
A couple of my friends here competed in the 'Semaine Nationale de la Culture' (National Week of Culture) in Bobo. It's a biennial event that brings troupes from all over Burkina Faso to perform and compete. Mathieu was performing on the tam-tam (drum) while a couple of my other friends were doing traditional Lobi dancing. Cool stuff!
It reminded me a lot of my days when I was a kid and did Filipino folk dancing with the Maharlika and Sampaguita dance troupes. And it reminded me of my time at LMU doing PCN with IB!
My neighbors forcing me to whip out the blue boubou from Swear-In and model it for them.
Aicha being silly with Hercules. Awwww!