November didn’t start off on the best foot for me. For the first time in I don’t know how long I didn’t do anything for Halloween and not only did I not do anything I was at home in bed with a 104 degree fever. I ended up being sick for the first 4 or so days of November, and let me tell you it was not fun at all. I hate being sick in the first place (as do all people I suppose) but having a high fever in a house that feels like a hot box is miserable. It is impossible to stay cool and getting water for a bucket bath was the last thing in the world I wanted to do.
The Burkinabe definitely have a different take on how they treat people when they are sick. At home in the states most people leave you alone to rest, sleep and recover but here I was answering the door almost every half an hour because my courtyard family and pretty much most of the town kept coming over to ask “are you sick”, “what’s wrong”, “do you have malaria”, “are you going to have to go back to America” etc. Granted it was nice to know that so many people were concerned about me but at the time I wanted nothing more than to just lay in my bed (aka a not very comfortable cot) and sleep.
I ended up having some bacteria that I most likely got for eating or drinking something that wasn’t cleaned properly. Every volunteer at one time or another will without a doubt get sick like I did, here it is almost inevitable.
I started to feel a bit better on Wednesday and on Thursday I was on a bush taxi up to Ouaga for SIAO (http://www.siao.bf/). SIAO is a huge art festival that is held in Ouaga every 2 years. Artisans from all over West Africa come to show off and sell their art. I met up with a few friends and we spent Saturday buying souvenirs that we will take home 2 years from now. It seemed a bit ridiculous to be buying this stuff now and keeping in for our entire service but this is the only chance we will get to go to SIAO because by the time it comes around again we will no longer be here. I always love getting to meet up with the other volunteers and because of SIAO just about everyone form our stage was in Ouaga to go to the festival so I was able to catch up with a lot of people and swap stories from village.
*fitting 7 people in a cab is always fun...lucky me i always get the front
*amazing dinner at the nicest place in Ouaga
After my long weekend in Ouaga flew by I was on a bus back to Ziniare. It has been a bit crazy here because the presidential elections are coming up on the 21st of November and Ziniare is the hometown of the president. Everyone and seriously I mean everyone has something with his face on it, pagnas, t-shits, hats, purses, cars with his poster taped to them, etc. Almost everyday there has been a rally in the villages surrounding me, it has truly been overwhelming. About a week ago Blaise himself came to Ziniare to hold a rally. I didn’t go but I heard from others and saw pictures in the paper and there was an insane amount of people who attended, he definitely doesn’t have trouble winning over people in Zinare.
Along with the craziness of elections one of the young women in my courtyard is getting married so we have had a few parties and family from all over coming by to stay with us. One of the parties I guess I could say is somewhat like a bachelorette party. All the women came to our courtyard and made about enough food to feed the entire village. They then took all that food over to a separate families courtyard when all the men were waiting. Frankly I’m not sure when the wedding is exactly because they only speak Moore in my courtyard and I still have a hard time understanding just about everything that they say. But when it does come I will be sure to put up pictures because I have been hired as the photographer. Not to shocking being that I’m the only one with a camera.
*cooking rice...notice the priority mail box in the left next to the goat head haha
Tabaski also took place this month (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabaski) For the holiday I went over to my homologues house where she was preparing a huge meal. Her family has taken me on as a surrogate and I spend quite a lot of time with their family. Their house is at the primary school where she (who teaches CP2/1st grade) has taken over the role as school Directrice while the normal Directrice is on maternity leave. Usually every Thursday one of her daughters and her son come over to my house where I “babysit” while she does whatever it may be. Anyways this day I spent with them and a group of other girls who came by as well. For the most part we just sat a round chatted, drank bissap, and ate. The girls also did some song and dance numbers for me that were pretty entertaining. All in all in was a great day.
*All my girls, and Soule
*taking a nap with a full belly
As for work things are going really well. Zalia (my boss, the women in charge of all GEE volunteers) came by to do a site visit. She went with me to both of my schools and also went with me to see my Inspector in Ziniare. Recently I’ve taken on the role of substitute teacher and will teach classes when a teacher is sick or for whatever reason just doesn’t show up. I’ve also decided to start a girls club that will meet at my house. I have about 8 girls in CM2 (5th grade) who for some of them come over to my house all the time anyway. We will meet about once every week or two and talk about almost everything, health, schoolwork, English, nutrition, etc. I decided to keep the club open to all subjects because I feel that way if something is not working it can easily be changed and I want the girls to choose subjects that are interesting to them. On top of that my satellite school is going to plant moranga trees in water sachets in January and then in March at the beginning of rainy season we are going to plan them in the schoolyard and sell the others and try and make a small profit for the school. Along with that a teacher at the school wants to start a theater club that focuses on girls education. Needless to say I’ve been pretty busy this past month, I’m really happy with the way things are going and I only hope things continue to go this well!
Sadly I don’t think I will get to do anything exciting this Thanksgiving so for me please watch football all day and stuff yourself with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and of course pumpkin pie with tons of cool whip!