Having spent most of last week being shuttled around Burkina and this week recovering (years on years of laundry), I’m enjoying having a Sunday to relax and do nothing except lesson plans because Model School has started, but more on that later.
I finally got to see my house! It’s absolutely gorgeous and surrounded by trees and I actually have electricity and running water!!! Dédougou is an amazing city and I can’t wait to start living there and eating all of the delicious food (thank gawd my house is far away from the center so I actually have to get some exercise). Hopefully I can get a hold of enough bandwidth in the near future to upload pictures.
AND I’m getting a cat from a Volunteer who is COSing soon so shocker I’m turning into a cat lady even in Burkina.
So last Sunday I didn’t have much planned other than my usual cyber-cafe trip so I was hanging around my family a whole bunch. Then my host mom asked if I wanted to go on a tour of the neighborhood with my host brother so we headed out down the dirt road outside my house. At this point, I’ve been using the paved road mostly to get places because I figure it’s better for my bike and haven’t been too on top of my exploring because I didn’t feel like getting lost in the middle of a city in West Africa so I’m so stoked to get a little more exposure to the back roads. After making several turns, seeing my brothers school, and realizing the local bar is actually two minutes away from my house as opposed to ten if I don’t take the main road, we finally pulled up to a gate about 15 minutes away. My host-bro told me it was his aunt’s house and we rolled inside. The first thing I noticed was just how quiet their courtyard was despite the fact that there were about 20 chickens roaming around and one pretty angry dog with an open sore on it’s ear (good thing I have a few rabies vaccines?) We then went inside where my host aunt was hanging out on the couch surrounded by fans (whaaaaaaaat) and watching the Mexico-Netherlands game (also whaaaaaaaaaaaat I haven’t seen a single game and I am not at all bitter about it. whatever.).
It was kind of like stepping into the twilight zone. Everything was calm and wonderful and my host aunt and I talked about our families and America. She has this amazing low, raspy, and soft voice while speaking so slowly and deliberately that you can’t help but be drawn in by every word. She has three children and insisted on taking a picture of me, my host brother (who at this point, is borderline napping on the couch), my 8 yr old host cousin, and her best friend. I so wish I had a copy it was an awkward family photo at it’s finest. Her oldest is at university in Bobo and they are trying to send him to America, resources willing. And the family dog’s name is Douglas.
With Douglas the dog curled up at her feet, she told me that her husband works in bronze and gave me a candlestick holder to bring back to the US and then turned on MTV and the rest of the family left the room. So I just hung out and willed my host brother to come back and find the World Cup channel so I didn’t have to keep watching “2 Broke Girls” in French.
After a couple of hours we voyaged back to the playground that is my family’s courtyard. It was nice just being in a house for a while with a family that had a volvo station wagon and no screaming children and a dog named Douglas. It’s especially nice when this happens in the middle of Africa while you’re missing your family with a volvo station wagon and no screaming children and a cat named Mel.
I just found out where I will be placed in-country for the next two years on Wednesday!
Basically the whole week leading up to site announcements I was a nervous wreck. As I freaked out on my family, my host mama told me she was praying for me (do those prayers count for more during Ramadan? Asking for a friend…) and my mantra for the week has been “J’ai Allah avec moi”. Which doesn’t really do anything because I’m all sorts of non-spiritual but hey, you take the dieties you can get, right?
My site is a city called Dedougou and it’s the regional capital in the Central-West part of the country. This is absolutely amazing because it’s an urban environment so the usual amenities will be easier to find (ie electricity/ internet/ a variety of food to cook with etc) and rumor has it I have a pretty bitchin’ house so holla at me MTV Cribz PCBF edition. I’m a little bummed because it means I don’t get a true “Peace Corps Unplugged” experience. However I distinctly remember reading a blog and being shocked at someone’s dismay at getting a site with electricity because he thought PC didn’t think he could tough it out. So I’m considering myself extremely lucky! I also share my site with another Volunteer which is great because now I have another American in my site which is rare in PC and most Volunteers are the only one stationed at their site, with the exceptions of marriages, etc…
OH OH OH there’s apparently a Catholic Center near my house that makes cheese. HELLS. YES. Hope they sell to Catholics of the fallen variety.
I’m a little far away from other peeps in my stage but ‘tis Gucci, as I will use all of my capital goodies (ie le fromage) to get them to come to me!
Whoo hooo! Amped for site visits next week!