Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Visiting Koukouldi, World Map


June 15th

So much can change so quickly when I don't update my journal! Left Dave's and hopped on transport and made it to Ouaga on the 10th. Went to the bureau to escape the House and ended up talking to Shannon for a while while she did some work, then went upstairs to work on the computer and skype.

The next morning, very early, I was off to Koukouldi to visit Kerry! It took a while to get going (had to stop for gas, then to inflate the tires, then for some unknown reason), but off we went, arriving around 10 or 11am. We dropped off my stuff and made some lunch, then went out to start the process of greeting everyone. We greeted her family, the teachers at the primary school where Stephanie (the last PCV there) had done her world map, the gardener who works with a lot of the PCVs in the area, the people at the boutique, the people at the bouvette, the neighbors, some people around village, and Tantie, her counterpart. Kerry had made soap that morning, and that afternoon was planning on helping with an HIV/AIDS sensibilization by a group of villagers that had been formed through the Protestant Church. We followed them around for a while, waiting in vain for someone to show up who we just had to wait for. We were about to leave (it was almost 6pm and I was exhausted) when they decided to move to the next courtyard over. But suddenly the people decided they didn't remember how to present it, so they just started passing out their posters and Tantie gave a lecture on courtyard hygiene and the importance of schooling and literacy. The guy we had been waiting for did eventually show up.

Kerry and I headed home after the presentation was over. We hung out, talked, ate blueberry pancakes, and watched Glee, the phenomenon that I have thus far resisted but, due to it's PCV popularity, have never quite escaped.

The next day we slept in until 7:30 (it rained in the night so it was still fairly cool even in her house with her hogging the fan in the next room), then biked to the CSPS to see Tantie, meet the staff, and then headed out to the neighboring village to draw the world. It took us a while to draw the rectangle to our satisfaction, but after that we gridded it (modified to reflect our crunched time frame, a 5 by 6 instead of 28 by 56 or something), drew the continents, and even painted the oceans. We got sunburned despite the overcast day, but got so much done, we felt very American with our 6 hour work day with only 30 minutes for lunch (benga we'd brought with us). I was hesitant to use the petrol to clean my hands, but it really is the only thing that gets off oil-based paint, I still have some on my foot from 2 days ago. Still, I won't be surprised if we all get some weird cancer from washing our hands with gas and laundry detergent.

The second day of the map we were up and waiting for Margaret, who came to use the electricity to do her COS paperwork and bring us paint that we didn't end up needing. We found out from Kerry's host brother (who's in the 6th grade, top of the class) that there are only 5 continents according to the 20-year old text book all students use: Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, and America. We pointed to Antarctica on our map, but he didn't recognize it. We called a teacher PCV who was sitting with a university student, a geography major, who informed us that since no one lives there they don't count it. Oh. Also, all of Russia is considered Europe, suddenly tripling the amount of paint we needed to budget for Europe. Our map didn't have quite as nicely detailed coast lines as Stephanie's map, and any island smaller than Hawaii was completely left off, but it really is beautiful and very colorful and quite impressively visible, 6x12feet on the side of a school. We mixed up very lovely shades of green, orange, and purple, as well as the light blue of the water, and Kerry did a Peace Corps logo in the corner using q-tips since we didn't have any brushes smaller than 1in (hence the bad coastlines).

We went home, ate a very late lunch, said goodbye to Margaret, talked about her best-friend's boyfriend issues, and watched a binge of Glee. Woke up late, made pancakes, said goodbye, and came into Ouaga yet again. The day started sunny, but as I was packing to finally go back to village it downpoured like crazy! Still, nothing got too wet, and it stopped by the time we all wanted to go to sleep. I woke up the next morning to get on skype, and used the fast internet to do some research about community college courses I want to take when I get home – exciting stuff!

Emily, her friend Brida, and I caught a ride with Saidou to Marina Market to stock up on groceries, then went to our respective bus stations. I caught a ride with WPK this time, a massively better experience than STAF. I got my bike and 2 large bags on with no issue, the bus was maybe ¼ full, comparatively clean and intact with all the windows still present if not totally secure, and we made it to village before dark even after taking an hour to leave Ouaga. Amazing. Ignored the dust in my house, took a shower, did a little yoga (my right knee seems to be bothering me a little), and now here I am!

1 comment: