When Working Windows are the Only Thing Between You and Sheep Urine…

October 22, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

So I was headed to Ouaga today. I got up at 530, heated some water for my bucket bath as it was a bit chilly to be bathing out of doors, and went to school. While there, I went over the correct answers to the pop quiz I gave yesterday to my 6eme math kids about the order of operations. Then, I handed back my 5eme math tests, which was a feat because of the names. And then I taught the oldest kids, my 4eme PC (physics and chemistry) kids about volume.

I had to pick up my phone from the charging station in town. I dropped it off there with a kid before school, so I was really hoping he actually gave the station my phone. Luckily he did. On the way back home, my tire blew out, or something perhaps less dramatic than that, on a thorn. I pushed my bike back home in the hot African noon sun thinking well, at least the worst is probably over.

I quickly changed out of my teaching (re: nice) clothes into a tshirt and pagne (1.5 m of fabric tied around the waist like a skirt) for my travels to Ouaga. I walked to town and sat with a friend, shared a plate of rice, and then hustled over to the bush taxi when the horn started blowing. For about 5 dollars, I can make the 125 k trip from village to the capital.

Because the bush taxi was pretty empty, the normal extra stools were not shoved in the walkway between normal bench seats in the van and the wall. And, there was a comfortable 2 person to bench, for a record low of 10 people (there are a couple of workers on top of the bus also). Everybody had a window seat, and while I usually take middle seats, there was no middle option.

Eyes squinted to the wind from the windows, I watched the passing hills, trees, barrage, and more than occasional goat. Right when I was thinking what a pretty day, it started sprinkling. Not a cloud in the sky. Odd, I think, so I look at the other windows as a fine mist strikes my face, neck. Then I hear the bleat.

When we were getting ready to leave for Ouaga, I watched as they tied up a sheep and attached her to the roof of the bush taxi. Occasionally, I saw her feet peak over the edge of the roof into sight of the window. Between the seeing, then feeling, the hearing, there was one piece missing: the smelling.

Once I smelled it, I realized that was not peaceful afternoon raindrops. The sheep was peeing. And that pee was dribbling down the side of the van and whooshing into my face at about 50 km/hr. Quickly, I try to close the window, but windows never close fast enough when they need to.

________________________

A couple weeks ago on a Thursday, I heard drums late at night, like 1130 at night which is too late to be wandering around outside.

Cut to ten days later. Turns out the chief of my village, or naaba, was out in the bush for ten days. One Sunday he returned to a ceremony. Everybody raced ahead to greet him as they heard the horses coming into village. The entourage, including the naaba covered head to toe, came to his courtyard, did a few laps to town, and then the ceremony continued. He sat on a yellow mat and was offered a calabash (hollowed out gourd) filled with dolo (millet beer, for you, Rachel, got your letter!!). He spilled half of it on the ground, then drank some, passing it to others in the arrival party. It was really cool. Here are some photos.

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This One is For Chelsea

October 22, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When speaking of popular music here in Burkina, you speak of FloBy (pronounced like the vacuum hair buzzers), Sean Paul, and invariably, Celine Dion.

Yes, her songs, both english and french, are popular here. While
computers and mp3 players a bit cher (expensive), phones with moderate mp3 capabilities are a little more in reach. Thus, I have listened to many Celine Dion songs through the low quality phone speakers while hair is tressed.

Things are pretty great here. My phone keeps me in contact with other volunteers and periodic texts back home. Mail comes in close by in Zorgho. The 25 k bike ride there and back takes up the whole day after I get my errands done, but it is nice to leave site periodically and stock up on things I can’t get in village. Like Nido. Powdered milk is ok, but safer than the Peuhl milk I get in marche.

Marche (market) is once every three days. Which is pretty good. It is either jsut after marche or just before, no long wait period inbetween. Plus, I constructed a desert fridge with large clay bowls arranged like russian nesting dolls. Yay chemical engineering!

School `started’ on friday. Because a lot of the students have to
come from far away villages and find places to live, a lot of them
were not ready for school to start. So I introduced myself to my
three classes (6eme math, 5eme math, and 4eme physics and chemistry) and headed back home.

Most of my days consist of lesson planning (french complicates
things), and generally hanging out and meeting people. Life is pretty lovely and I feel very lucky to be here.

Can’t get enough of the blog? Think life here sounds super cool?
Visit! I understand it’s a pretty big undertaking, but I have a
village that I’d love to show you.

Cheers!!

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