Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gender and Development, Send Me Your Homework, Happy Language Moments

30 November – Romongo, 9:35pm

We had a session today on Gender and Development, which was pretty interesting, although it really made me miss Mount Holyoke and all the Gender Studies classes I've taken. It sounds kinda nerdy (or really nerdy) but I'm thinking of downloading all those papers from ELLA that I skimmed for classes and actually taking the time to read them. On that note, if you're in a class and you happen to have a vaguely interesting paper (that you're reading or that you've written, any topic) I would love to have more reading material! Email it to me (seriously) and I'll save it on my computer to read or print later. Although medicine and the idea of doing public health is still really interesting to me, I was surprised at how happy I was to be back in a situation where we could begin to explore sex, gender, and gender-roles as they apply to Burkinabé and us as Americans in Burkina Faso.

Tonight I had a happy language moment! I had just arrived home, put my stuff in my room, and gone out to the big courtyard to greet everyone. I found my host mom resting for a minute next to the laundry tubs, and stopped to chat for a minute when Mamu, her youngest daughter, came up and started pestering “Ma, ma, ma, ma.” We both looked at her questioningly, and she whined “Mam rata sagbo” which I understood! It seems really simple, but it's the first sentence besides a greeting that I've fully understood in Moore without really thinking about it. Yay! Now I just need to learn more things than “I want tô.” How do you say “how often do you go to the CSPS and how do you pay for it?” in Moore?

And on a happy family note, in general I'm feeling closer to my host family. I like going to greet the women, especially Fati who speaks a fair bit of French and Mamuna, the women who lives next to her. Fati was pretty intimidating at first, but she's really nice and takes the time to chat with me for a little about what she's cooking, what I'm learning in class, and maybe teaches me a few words in Moore. Mamuna hardly speaks any French, but greets me with such enthusiasm in Moore or with “Ca va? Ca va!” that I can't help but smile and laugh back. It's interesting that the person I can hardly communicate with is one of the two that I feel closest to, but she doesn't try to say lots of things I don't understand, she's clearly welcoming and friendly, and although I don't hang out with her for long I don't think it would be hard to have a companionable charades with her.

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