These past couple of weeks have been...insane/sad/great/exhausting/all of the above. How do you properly leave all that was familiar to you for two years and readjust to what you've been living in for your life prior to Peace Corps?
Before I continue, many of you have probably been wondering why I never gave the name of my site. Well, the reason is that for security reasons, it's just not that best idea. Yeah, you walk into my town and I'm probably the only American you'll find but the Internet is a big place and with all of this terrorism 'stuff' going on these days, you never know!
Since I'm posting this now, I can say that the name of my site is Kampti-Bouti. It's a small town in southwestern Burkina Faso about 25 kilometers from the Burkina Faso-Cote d'Ivoire/Ivory Coast border, and the farthest south Peace Corps site in Burkina Faso. It's basically a cross between a midsized town in Burkina Faso and a village, as there are many different neighborhoods of sorts. However, there is no electricity (there are solar panels everywhere) or running water.
Probably the biggest thing I want to note from in this blog entry is the farewell party that my Burkinabè friends in Kampti put together for me. I really wasn't expecting anything...at all. I really thought I'd be the one to put together a little something for my farewell since things do get expensive, plus I didn't want to make a big deal out of me leaving.
Regardless, it was such a kind gesture and yet another reminder of how the Burkinabè are some of the most hospitable, if not the most hospitable, people in the world. Enjoy the pictures!
This picture is so inspiring to me. There will be moments where I'm biking back home in the afternoon, and the clouds and sun will form something truly amazing like this. Inspiring.
Kadidja and her little brother Husseini come by as I clean out my house. They saw the world map and it made the perfect picture. I was explaining to them how far California is from Burkina Faso.
I really wish Grace would smile more in pictures!
Nazaire making tea. I think I've mentioned this before, but making African tea is essentially an afternoon ritual. I've done it with these guys so many times. Three little shot glasses of tea, each glass getting progressively sweeter. I'm going to miss this!
The everyday afternoon tea spot. So simple. I could nap here!
I realized I never got a picture of how I wash dishes here in Burkina Faso. Two buckets: one with soapy water, the other with rinsing water with a little bit of bleach. Leave the dishes to dry in the sun, and voila, (seemingly) clean dishes!
Grace and Hercules. Awww!
After a crazy downpour. Rainy season begins!
With Mathieu who helped me making pagne apron gifts for my friends and family back home!
With Amadou, the craziest old man in Kampti. I don't know if he's drunk all the time or just downright crazy.
Getting water at the pump. Two huge plastic water jugs, my bike and lots of motivation.
With some of the guys at my Inspection (head of the primary schools in Kampti).
At Mathieu's shop.
My friend Reine presenting me with a gift from them all: a traditional Lobi outfit worn by men!
Of course, I had to try it on in front of everyone. I literally felt like I was swimming in this outfit. You could've fit two people in there!
Jon and I. So happy he could make it!
Mathieu, one of my closest friends in Kampti, and I.
Reine and I before she had to leave.
Group photo! It's funny because most of the guys in the picture are at least 10 (if not more!) years older than Jon and I.
Ali in the bus. I decided to take him with me to Gaoua as a trip together. Fun times!
One of my good friends, Koro, and I. She was in Gaoua taking the BAC exam (equivalent to the high school diploma, except in Burkina Faso, it's viewed more as a college degree).
Shannon and I. Gonna miss you!
Before I headed back to Kampti, Jon and I took a little side trip to a village nearby where they make baskets.
Shannon and I outside the APFG (the women's association in Gaoua). They do so much good work here -- microfinancing, a dolo (local millet beer) bar, awareness sessions on HIV/AIDS/health/etc., a store that sells shea butter soap and other African goodies, and an Internet café. Classy!
Ali and I with the baskets.
How they make village bread...so good!
The mud stove where they make the bread. Genius!
These women are amazing at their craft. And they do it with such ease!
A view of Kampti and the main road.
My treat to some of my close friends here in Kampti.
Because they drink their African tea at what seems like shot glasses, I gave them a shot glass with San Francisco on it so they would never forget me. Haha!
Mathieu, Nazaire and I. Two of my closest friends here in Kampti (next to my neighbors)!
With Valerie, my go-to lady at the marché (market). I buy all my cooking basics from her -- onions, tomatoes, garlic, spices.
View of the market in Kampti.
With Asetu, one of my other go-to ladies at the market.
With Alice. Whenever I'm feeling lazy and don't want to cook lunch, I get food from her in town. Mmmm... attieké!
The kids getting water for me. They're so balanced!
Hercules looking so sad as I leave Kampti...
The inside of the normal way of transportation in Burkina Faso: via bus. Although this is much cleaner than most buses...
Gifts for Kadidja to ensure that we still keep in contact...and that she continues going to school!