What is Kathryn Doing Next?

August 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What is Kathryn Doing Next?

So some of you may be wondering what exactly I have been up to and what is happening next.  I have been going around Burkina, staying with families, visiting my site, and going through a very extensive, exhausting training.  It really has been great meeting all of these new stagaiars (people in training to become volunteers, like I am now), but I am really looking forward to being a volunteer at my site. 

So how will it be different?  It will be very different.  Right now, I have over 80 other Americans around me all of the time.  I have class 6 days a week.  I am teaching model classes which are smaller than they will be in my village, and I switch classes often so it is hard to get used to a class. 

So what will be the same?  I will still be in Burkina.  I will still be a teacher.  And most importantly, I will still be learning.  Even though my time here in stage is almost up, my time learning is not.  I am going to be living in a totally new culture for two years.  And like between cities and towns in America, they all have their own character and practices.  So I will be making my first home in a valley in central Burkina.  My first job out of college will be teaching and learning. 

What do the next few weeks look like?  I am not really sure.  All I know for pretty sure is this next week.  I have the last few days of stage this upcoming week, and Thursday I head over to the capital.  Friday is my swearing in ceremony.  It is a really big deal and I have very excited to take the oath and become a United States of America Peace Corps volunteer.  It will be televised across Burkina. 

After that, I will shop on Saturday and gather all of the accoutrements for my new home, and Sunday is the big day.  I move from the capital and to my site.  Goodbye electricity.  Goodbye running water.  Goodbye internet.  So get those letters in the mail, folks.  I don’t have a poste in my site, but I have a plan to keep in touch with you fine friends in family through letters from the States.  Thanks to all who have written me.  It is really great to get a letter in the mail. 

On the exciting side, some of us have a fantasy football team!  Here are my players.  It is set up so I do not have to bench players or deal with it much during the season because that is hard without the internet and all. 

QB1 – Eli Manning

QB2 – Chad Henne

RB1 – Chris Johnson

RB2 – Matt Forte

WR1 – Chad Ochocinco

WR2 – Calvin Johnson

WR3 – Donald Driver

DST – Cowboys

Fingers Crossed!!



Mam Yuur La a Kathryn. Mam Data Benga.

August 15, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My name is Kathryn.  I Want Beans

 Believe it or not, that is one of the first phrases that I learned in my mini survival Mooré class. And it comes in handy more often than you might think.

Whoa hold on a second, what is Mooré? Well I’m glad you asked!! While French may be the national language, the language of school, of business, of the government, it is most people’s second language. When they start primary school, most kids get their first exposure to the language if it has not been spoken extensively in the home. There are exceptions. All of my host siblings have spoken French and only one of them is school aged. In general, however, French is something learned in school. The first language, the mother tongue, depends on the region and the village.

Most areas in the central and northern Burkina are the lands of the Mossi people, whose language is Mooré. There are other languages spoken throughout the country (Jula, Bwamu, Lobi, Dafing, Dagara…) but most large cities have a Mooré speaking population and my village is one of those in Mooré speaking lands.

So back to the phrase. Everybody can understand learning how to say your name in a new language. That is one of the basics like ‘hello, how are you.’ But why ‘I want beans?’ Because I am an education volunteer, French is stressed right now in training. I will be teaching in French and working in a school system where it is expected to you speak French all the time to promote fluency. So if I am not running across Mooré and it’s use in my primary project here for Peace Corps, where do I run across it: buying stuff.

Buying lunch from a lady with a bowl, ladle, and about 25 fly-friends. Buying peanut butter from a lady in the marché. Introducing myself to people when I want to try and not get ripped off in marché. Ne y windga! Mam data benga. Pisi. That greats the person, gives them your order, and informs how much benga (or beans) you want. Pisi means twenty, but in money, you multiply the number by five. So 100 CFA of benga. Gets a person farther than you might imagine.

I may not know a lot of Mooré, but man the little I know I use a lot.  With visitors, my host family.  And they love it.  People smile, and undoubtedly say something simple back but I don’t know it.  So I can only impress people with about 30 seconds of Mooré.  And now you can, too! 

So here is a little mini language tutorial for you all.

Salutations to you! (morning until 10am) – Né y yibeoog’o

Salutations to you! (10am until 2pm) – Né y windga’

Salutations to you! (2pm until evening) – Né y zaabre

Salutations to you! (at night but not used often) – Né y yongo

My name is Kathryn. – Mam yuur la a Kathryn

I am American. – Mam yita Amerik.

I want…  – Mam data…

Beans – Benga

Water – Koom

Rice – Mui

How much does that cost? – Ya wana wana?


1 – à yémbré

2 – à yiibu

3 – à taabo 

4 – à nàasé 

5 – à nu 

6 – à yoobé

7 – à yopoe

8 – à nii 

9 – à wae 

10 – piiga 

Cat – Yuuga

Corn – Kamaandè

Peanuts – Nànguri

To – Sagbho

More Photos!!

Photos in reading order. 

1 – Sara making bissap with our host cousin.  Notice her tasteful use of a fular.

2 – Me making no-bake cookies at our cooking practical at a stagaiar’s house. 

3 – Sara and I in our new threads.

4 – Me in my troisieme physics and chemistry (PC) class in model school

5 – Giving an exercise for the home.

6 – Education stagaiars going on a field trip!  See Sara’s blog for more info see saraburroughs.blogspot.com

7 – Me on the cayman

8 – Group shot!

9 – Me and mouche, our cat.  Host brother in the back.  You can tell the cat loves me.

Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

August 1, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

And I am really slow on this french keyboard.  So here you go. 

I can’t get the captions to save, so here we go. 

In reading order

1 – Sara and I bien integrées with our pagne skirts and her fular in our courtyard

2 – Sara and our cat lesson planning

3 – letter writing chain in Secondary Ed (SE)

4 – The first world map project I saw at the training school.  It was a pervious volunteer’s project. 

5 – Guinea fowl at my site!!

6 – My living room, and in back, bedroom, at my new house at site!  Yes, I included the luggage for perspective. 

Ps thanks for the mail Dr M, Mom and Dad, Amanda, and Todd!!  If you want your name up here for all the world to see how awesome you are, send me a line. 


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