It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity

June 28, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
So I found my thermometer the other day, and I realized how hot it actually  was.  Even though it’s the reainy season and it is like90 at night, it usually doesn’t feel that bad.  You just get used to sweating.  A lot.  And now I sleep outside, but it’s hard with the whole family out there because my little brother cries a lot at night.  Ca va aller.
So I have been here for ong enought to have a typical day.  Which in and of itself is exciting.  When I have some semblance of a routine on small norlal things like shozering, eating, class, it makes it easier to learn the new stuff.  Like how to prepare to (boil water, add a flour, let gel)
0600 Wake up.  I get up usually around 4 if I hear the call to prayer, or sometime between 4 and 6 because the court yard gets busy.
0600 – 0630 Shower.  The shower usually works in the morning so I don’t alzays have to take a bucket bath.
0630 – 0645 Dress, mov emy bike outside, sweep my room.  My room gets really sandy really quickly.
0645 – 0700 Fill the water filter so I have stuff to drink when I get home.
0700 – 0730 Breakfast is usually a piece of bread with instant coffee.  It’s usually flavored with chickory.  I have no idea what that is.
0730 – 0745 Bike to center from my host family house.  Have children yell good evening, la blanche, nasara, all sorts of things.
0745 – 0800 Recount the evening with other stagaiars.
We have four blocks of class, 0800 – 1000, 1030 – 1230, 1400 – 1530, and 1545 – 1715.  Two (at least) are language, one is usually technical, and we might have a med session thrown in.  Language gets exhausting because even if we aren’t in class we  are still working on french all the time.  Tech classes are usually about teaching.  I have my first teaching session in french on Friday.
1230 – 01400 Lunch.  Always a trip to find food.  Somletimes we go to marche to get veggies, other times we go to a restaurant.
1530 – 1900 Hang out in the courtyard with my family and the other people who live in out courtyard.
1900 – 1930 Dinner.  My family makes some great food, even if it isn’t always something I would eat in the US.
1930 – 2100 – Talk with my host family.  Watch soccer.  My host dad thinks Argentina is going to win.  I tell him I’m rooting for Ghana now and he laughs at me.
2100 – 0600 Bed.
I got my first mail on friday!  It was frol amanda. It had quite the extensive list to complete this month.

Brief Update

June 19, 2010 at 10:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

So this is the first free time that I have since I left for the airport on the 7th.  A few more notes on what has happened since I left.  Sorry if there are any repeats, it takes to long for the pages to load to actually double check stuff.

 So my host family is great.  Alan still does not really talk to me but I think now it has less to do with the fact that I am a white person as much as the nez person living there.  I learned how to wash laundry by hand.  You have to let it soak in the soapy water for quite a while, and it there is a technique to the way you bend over the bucket.  You lean with your left forearm on your left knee and use it as a washboard.  Bonus about doing laundry in Africa: the wash dries really fast. 

My host parents have been really patient with my french and explaining stuff.  I am not very good or quick, but I am improving… slowly. 

The hours here are muych different than at home.  Yeah it is only about 4 hour time zone difference, but we sleep at 9pm and I am up at 6 am.  I got my own bike and water filter and malaria slide kit!  If we suspect that we have malaria, we make the slides and get them to Ouaga.  I got to make practice slides.  Yeah that didnt go over too well with me. 


One Week!

June 16, 2010 at 6:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

So it has been one week since I have been in Burkina.  Quite a lot has happened.  It is hard to even process because so much of it is new and exciting but I cannot record everything .  Nor would you want me to.  So I zill put in a few fun stories from the week and I hope you enjoy.  Overall , this has been a phenomenal experience and it has only been a week.  My french is no where near perfect or good enough to teach with , but it is coming along swimmingly .

So my host family is very nice and helpful and they playfully laugh when I do something very stupid.  Which is a lot.  I have a host father , Maurice zho works as a social worker, a mother, Florencewho works at a school for small kids, and a brother, Alan .  Alan is the interesting one.  He is «  and the first night I was there he kept asking if nasara was trying to trap him.  Nasara is the word for white person.  It is not meant negatively and it is sorta strange to have all the kids yell it but it is not offensive… it would just be nice if he would talk to me and call me tantie like his parents are trying.  He does speak french.  Most peope speak at least two languages , local like Moore and French.

For language, I finally figured out a bit hoz Moore worked and then about five hours later that I will not need Moore for my eventrual site . Instead it is Jula also called Bambara.  This is spoken in the West African region like Mali, Senegal, etc .  I also should be familiar with Dafing.  This does not mean that I am goig to bec oming back quatre-lingual , but I might be able to greet people in those languages.

The greetings in BF are very serious.  How is the family, the work, your sleep patterns.  Even the lady at the post office asks extensively of  people thousands of miles away.  The country is very friendly and I like it !

Traditional food here is ate with the hands.  I asked Florence to let me learn how to eat with my hands in training so I do not look like a fool in village.  Last night I had chicken and rice.  I ate very little meat, but a lot of chicken .  I bit in and it was blue .  The eyes :  It was actually tasty .

French lessons start now !  Gotta run

Welcomed by Rain

June 14, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Our first night in Ouagadougou it rained:  It is a sign of good  luck in West Africa so it was very nice:  It also made it easier to sleep 🙂  The first few days were in Ouaga and filled with shots and the basics:  We then came here to Ouahigouya and our first few nights were in a hotel to help us get used to the culture before we meet our host families:  The food is great; the people even more amazing:  i need to leave now and meet my host family!!  i am very excited and now that i have my bike and know my way around i can hopefully give your eager ears more  🙂

Goodbye, America!

June 7, 2010 at 1:17 am | Posted in Predeparture | 4 Comments

Yeah, it’s late.  Of course everything came down to the last night.  One last pack.  One last lightening of my bags.  Laundry (thanks Mom).  Paperwork (thanks Dad).  Copy.  Check. Repeat.  And let’s not forget Amanda….

It’s been a busy last few days.  Goodbye, my Ann Arbor friends.  Bdubs and Charley’s was a classic end.  Goodbye, fishes of the lakes.  You can relax, I’m not there anymore.

It still hasn’t hit me.  I’m sure it will on the flight, but until then, I’m floating between sleep and awake.  We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Miss you all!  Cheers.

Getting Closer…

June 1, 2010 at 11:25 am | Posted in Predeparture | 4 Comments

Less than one week!  My luggage is currently at 60 lbs, which is 20 lbs under!  That’s exciting.  I keep trying to ask myself, will bringing this make life easier or more complicated.  Conclusion:  laptop, more complicated.  Extra mosquito net and bandannas:  less complicated.  Et cetera.

So I know what you’re thinking.  Kathryn, will you have internet?  How can I keep up with all the awesome things happening in your life?  What if I miss you just too much to simply read your blog?  Well, I’m glad you asked!  I will loooove receiving email (I promise to respond) and real mail.  Want an awesome stamp?  Postcard?  A piece of paper that has traveled from Africa?  Write me for real.  And make sure to include your return address and check out my tab at the top of my blog with some helpful tips on mail.

Kathryn Siuniak, PCT
S/c Corps de la Paix
01 B.P. 6031
Ouagadougou 01, Burkina Faso

Yeah, I leave in a week, but trust me, any mail you send from here on out will not precede me.

On other fronts, I’ve been saying goodbyes and taking tips from all sides.  What shoes to bring.  How much soap to pack.  When to floss most effectively.  🙂  Thanks to everybody.

So yeah.  June 7 is coming up quick.  Looking forward to meeting the new volunteers who are leaving with me and keeping in touch with all you fine folks still in the states.


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