Oh, Gaoua. My provincial capital only about 50km away...a mere 25-minute bus ride from my site. A weekend meeting point for all of us Peace Corps Volunteers in the region where we can use electricity, charge our laptops/cell phone batteries, get really cold drinks, use the Internet, get packages/send letters, eat good food and enjoy the company (and speaking English!) of fellow Peace Corps Volunteers.
I really can't express how important/how much this place means to me. It was nice to sometimes get away from site and the stresses/frustrations of living in a place where you really had no privacy. But like I said above, I got together with the other Peace Corps Volunteers that lived in my region (Jon, Brenda, Jane, Kyle, Daniel & Shannon) and we really became our own support network and family. I think we were closer knit than most other Peace Corps region groups in the country!
A typical Saturday would look something like this: all arrive at around 7:00am and meet directly at Chez François for omelettes, yogurt and café au lait. We'd head to the Poste (post office) to get money, check to see if we got any letters or packages from home, go to the APFG/Association de la Promotion Feminine de Gaoua (women's association) to use the Internet for a ridiculous amount of time, head to 4 Saisons for lunch - eating grilled chicken, fries, a really good peas dish, etc. with cold drinks while watching MTV in French, go to the marché (market) to go shopping, head over to Kyle or Daniel's and have dinner/cold beers, hang out/talk/watch a movie and just sleeeep. Seriously, it became so routine to all of us after a while!
I can't believe I discovered this on my LAST visit to Gaoua! A lookout point of Gaoua and the surrounding area. So beautiful!
I'm such an old man compared to Jon.
Way to ruin a perfectly cool picture, Jon! But really, look how ominous those clouds look in the distance. I really thought we were going to be rained on during our walk to Kyle's place.
Cold Brakinas, cheddar cheese slices from Ouaga (thanks Brenda!), bread and crudite/vegetable salad at Daniel's.
With some of Kyle's neighbors. They're so nice!
A snapshot of our lunch hangout: 4 Saisons. Check out the TV in the back and the fans above. Classy!
Hilltop view of Gaoua. You can see the mosque to the near right and a little beyond that, the marché.