8 April – Kossouka, 9:53pm
It's amazing how much I seem to have to say when I actually get back into the habit of writing it all down! This morning was amazing, followed by the rest of the day that was just busy busy busy. I was just finishing my breakfast and contemplating starting to pack up when Simon knocked at my gate a bit before 8. I told him I would be right out, I just needed to get my bag and greet people at the CSPS. He went over there to wait for me, and suddenly not two minutes later I had children in my courtyard! Three or four, to be specific, that I don't think I've seen before. They said hello, I introduced them to the cats, and proceeded to continue packing up my tent, putting air into my bike tire, putting on my sunscreen, and getting ready to leave. We went outside, they said goodbye, and off I went. I greeted everyone, told them I was leaving, and hopped on my bike to follow Simon.
We went past a big fenced in forest, which of course caught my eye and reminded me of the big forest in Ouaga. I asked about it and Simon said that it's called Bilya (I think that's what it was) and it's a sacred forest where you go when you need to ask for something, and that they fenced it in to protect it from animals. We pulled up to his house and greeted his wife and 5 kids (Claire, Bernadette, Michel, and I forget the last two, maybe Clarissa), his mother?grandmother?, the wife of his brother who is in Cote d'Ivoire, and his neighbors, the patriarch is the retired catechist. We had coffee, and then zom-koom (with rice flour – a very different flavor but I liked it), and then they gave me a big bag of peanuts, and then they gave me a rooster! I was beside myself I was so honored and pleased, and I can't wait to go back, although I hope they won't be giving me things every time or else I'll start to feel guilty indeed. We left after about 40 minutes to go home, but on the way he asked if we could stop at the PTA meeting at Kossouka D, where three of his kids attend. I of course said yes – anything to meet new people. We went in, greeted everyone, and sat down to listen. At first glance everything looked nice and new, but then I noticed the extensive cracks that had been re-cemented in the floors and the walls. The meeting was gathering money from all the members in order to help construct a latrine, something lacking when they built the new school. They also want to build a teacher's lounge, but that can wait. It was so encouraging to see their motivation!
The rest of the day was work. We vaccinated until past 1pm, with these terrible gusts of dust hitting us every 20 minutes or so, until I could brush the accumulated piles of dust off of my clothing and could feel it turning to mud in my nostrils. Gross. I was hungry and cranky and still had a long list of stuff to do, so I cut out pretty quickly and went to get some bidons of water. I swept and dusted, did my dishes, fixed my flat tire and cleaned and oiled the chain, ate lunch, tried to figure out how to keep enough water for the chicken for the week (I ended up giving him to the CSPS guardian to keep an eye on him), figured out what I wanted to pack, took a shower, and did my laundry. Whew! I ended up not going to the stations of the cross because I lost track of time when I was in the middle of finishing everything, and pleaded my apologies to Simon when he walked by the CSPS while I was on my way to get my chicken. He was completely understanding and we made plans for the next Friday I'm back in village, but I still feel quite guilty for not paying attention. I went and sat at the CSPS and chatted with an intern and my major until past 8pm, when I went home to cook my rice, listen to the BBC, take down my laundry, and now I'm finally sitting, finishing my tea, under the stars. Busy busy, but worth it, and tomorrow I'm leaving! I'm actually kind of sad that I'm finally getting somewhere in village and now I'm leaving it, but such is life – there's still time, thank goodness.