Thursday, May 10, 2012


May 1st

Hey look – it's a new month! And in 10 days I leave village to being an epic journey that will take me to 9 cities/villages on 3 continents over 5 ½ weeks (Ouaga, Paris, Washington D.C., South Hadley, Albany, San Francisco, Ouahigouya, Zogare, Koukouldi). Doesn't that sound impressive? Also sounds like I'm going to be out of site a lot, but I swear it makes more sense this way than going back to village for all of 4 days before leaving again for my VAC meeting.

Today was (maybe?) the last day of our meningitis campaign. I finally helped out a little, marking the number of children vaccinated, re-consituting freeze-dried vaccine, and holding screaming children (it occasionally took 3 people to hold some of them still). I got some wonderful photos of most of my staff and a few ASCs which made me really happy. There's even one of me re-constituting vaccine, and one wearing Belem's headscarf (Sali had a lot of fun trying to get it to stay in place properly over my “slippery” hair). I had to take it off very quickly – for a thin material it sure trapped heat effectively! We finished up by noon, had a small supervision visit, and that was that. I went to the marche, sat and talked to Collette for a while – she said the women want to sit and chat with me! I didn't get into specifics of which women or what they wanted to talk about, but enthusiastically agreed and now have a meeting with “the women” on Friday morning under “the tree” which I'm hoping means the one next to my house because otherwise I could be searching for a long time to find the right tree.

I returned home with my sugar and samsa, and had a visitor waiting for me! Kalsoum and I chatted in Moore/French (some of which I didn't really understand but we made it work) and shared the samsa. She had brought me a little dish of what I deemed “re-fried benga”, essentially pureed black-eyed peas. The oil on it tasted a bit fishy, so I tried to avoid it, but the beans themselves were pretty tasty and very filling along with the delightful crunchy-soft goodness of samsa, which of course is black-eyed pea flour that has been mixed with water and fried. There was a lot of protein in my life today, and it was delicious. It was so much fun talking with Kalsoum, I really like just hanging out with her one on one. Maybe next time I'll ask her to help me “prepare for a sensibilization” and use the time to start spreading some health messages that she can then pass on to the other CSPS kids who can get them into the schools.

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