Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back in Site

July 1st

I guess I should catch everything up to this point, even though I did say most of this in my last post. Ok, so I left village for a VAC meeting. I went to Koudougou to visit Sunyata and drop off the cats, then returned to Ouaga for the meeting. After that I went back to KDG, and the day before I was going to leave, got a call saying that the people in KDG and the villages surrounding it were being consolidated as a precaution against rumors of a demonstration the next morning. So we got up early and caught the bus to a village called Sabou. We thought it would just be for a day, maybe two. But upon arriving, we found out that every volunteer was being consolidated into 13 locations around the country to ease the burden on the Bureau in locating and informing all 150 of us during the period of uncertainty and unrest in a lot of cities. We celebrated Easter, then all got to leave and head back to site. I was sick, so stopped in Ouaga at the med unit for 5 days – it was rather complicated with the cats, but we managed alright. I got back to my site, cleaned my house, and left 4 days later for IST (in service training) with the rest of the people in my stage. We went to Bobo, the biggest city in the southwest and second biggest in the country. It was fantastic to see everyone, and to be in such a big city with such wonderful food. A few days into our stay, I got a call that my Dad was in the hospital. I left IST and went back to Ouaga to make arrangements to fly back to the US on Emergency Leave. I was there for a week before he passed away, a time I'm so grateful for that words don't even begin to cover it. The next week was preparing for the funeral, then my mom and I flew to New Orleans to be with my step-family upon hearing of the illness of my grandfather. I returned to New York after a week, drove to see Katie (and hold her hand in the hospital – what is it with everyone?), then left for Burkina a few days before the funeral of my grandfather, the only way I could have stayed longer would have been to interrupt my service with Peace Corps and re-apply later.

So I returned and jumped into a shortened version of the IST I'd missed. I'm very glad that the Bureau let us make up some of the very useful information, but admittedly my head wasn't in a particularly receptive place – I'm glad we have handouts. I stayed in Ouaga for the next week or so, being with friends and helping Sunyata in her COS (close of service) process, mostly running around trying to determine if Air Burkina had a policy on pets, and what it was, and who we had to talk to in order to get the cats back to the US. It took a few days, but with some help we got it worked out, and now the boys are living in California, chasing field mice instead of waddling fat lizards that hide behind my furniture. I came back to Kossouka near the end of June, and now here I am! Who knew I could smash the events of 3 months into 2 paragraphs – I'm rather proud, despite the poor grammer.

And now I'm back in my village and it's raining like crazy outside! I spent the morning at the maternity with Sali doing CPNs (prenatal consultations), and leaned how to write down the results of the exam into the CSPS notebooks and the individual carnets that each woman has. I had a nice little conversation with a student who had come in for birth control – it always makes me happy when the 16-18 year olds are there with the green family planning carnets instead of the blue maternity ones. I wanted to do my laundry, but after getting water and sitting around at the CSPS waiting for everyone to come back from the Polio campaign it started to thunder so I decided to keep reading my book, and now that it's raining I'm inside typing this!

My little cement house with it's corrugated tin roof is like being inside of a drum when it rains – it's so loud I can hardly hear myself think. It would be a perfect time to call a friend, but even with our phones on the loudest setting it's pretty hard to hear each other. Still, the breeze coming in the windows feels cool and is blessedly free of dust. There's a cow somewhere outside who is clearly unhappy at the rain – I would imagine he'd be used to this happening, but maybe that doesn't make it any easier.

I said goodbye to a friend today – Moussa, the English teacher here at the middle school. I hope it's not for good and I know I have a lot of time left here, but I'm not sure when I'll see him again. He and I are occasionally of differing opinions on things, but he's probably been the person in village that I've had the best discussions with, the person I feel at least knows a little of who I am. He takes the time to listen, and lets me ask him questions about nearly anything. When I can't explain it in French, I know he'll understand when I say it in English, and he lets me switch back and forth so he can help me say what I mean in French. He's been teaching here for 8 years, but this year he's clearly been unhappy, burnt out and ready to move on. He was talking about staying for another year, but yesterday he said it was over and today he came to say goodbye. He's going to Ouaga for now to be with his family, then he wants to take a solo trip, possibly to Cote d'Ivoire or Ghana. He said he didn't know what he was looking for, and that people didn't understand why he wanted to leave. I said that sometimes we need change in our lives, and if he's not happy it's clearly time for a change – going to a new place is a good way to let you examine your life because you're removed from your routine. He said he'd be ok teaching if he could do it in Ouaga or Arbolay, but I suspect he might decide to go back to school pursue his dreams of becoming a lawyer or college professor. I hope he does.

I keep seeing this silly waddling little lizard all over the house! I miss the kitties – they'd have eaten him, or at least chased him outside. I've been cleaning my house from the accumulated 2 months of dust (disgusting), and every piece of furniture I move seems to be the one he's chosen to hide behind.

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