20 July 2008

My site kicks butt!

Ok, some more info about my site...

While it is small, it's still a departmental capital (departments are KIND of like counties). This means that it has a lot of stuff for being so small, including:

  • A marché (market) every three days big enough that I can meet all of my dietary needs easily.
  • A boutique big enough to have non-perishables like tomato paste and noodles. It also has sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk...but no powdered milk. And while I COULD live without powdered milk, it's much easier not to try, since it lasts so long. Anyway, the boutique basically has so much stuff that you can't even tell what it might have since stuff is piled two and three layers deep. To give you an example of its breadth, I got bike brake cables there, and I've had a hard time finding those here in the "big" city.
  • A barrage that I CAN FISH IN!!!
  • REAL COFFEE! From Cote d'Ivoire, I think.
  • Neem trees! Look it up.
Also, the house I'll be in is really freakin' sweet. No electricity or running water, of course. But it does have a huge hangar (a porch with a thatch roof) with a cement floor, and I've confirmed that my hammock fits comfortably there. It also has a latrine/shower area with a locking door! This is rare for volunteer sites and is really super great. I'm also inheriting a Lipico (a cot more or less) and a mosquito tent with broken poles. Now that you know these things, you'll understand my new wish list. Some of this stuff would be expensive to send, so I understand if you can't. Even if I do have a birthday coming up.

  • Two tent poles.
  • A percolator coffeepot. Walmart sells a great little Coleman that is made for use on a propane stove for cheap.
  • Fishing supplies!!!
Other things I'm inheriting include a cat named Riley with whom I actually got along, a nice propane stove, several tables, bookshelves (and even some books), and a host family whose name I've already forgotten.

Now the saga of GETTING to my site:
Plan A: Go most of the way Thursday night, stay with neighbor, bike Friday to site. Reverse for trip back to training site.
Problem: Transport leaves too early for that neighbor's site.
Plan B: Go the other way and stay with another neighbor and do more or less the same thing.
Problem: I am not allowed to stay with this neighbor.
Plan C: Oh wait, there's later transport to that first neighbor's house. But by the way, he can't be there so you'll have to bike to your site that night.
Problem: That transport was full before I got there.
Plan D: Well, there MIGHT be another bus this afternoon.
Problem: Screw that. I'm going with Plan E.
Plan E: Go to second neighbor's and bike from THERE to site.
Problem: It's going to rain. I am not biking 45 km in the rain, as night falls, to a place I've never been. You can't make me.
Plan F: Oh, you can stay with that neighbor after all.

SO, Thurs. night I stayed with that neighbor. Unfortunately, she's leaving so she won't actually be my neighbor, and she's pretty cool. But so is the other person in that city, so that's ok. Friday night I managed to take a pickup truck to my site. Stayed there that night, then Saturday we planned to take a camion (a really large truck) back up the same way, which would have taken several hours. As it happened, we managed to catch another pickup truck, which was much faster so I ended up getting to spend most of a day in Ouaga. Met some more of my colleagues at the PC transit house, which is as you might guess a house for PCV's to stay in while in Ouaga (though not for free unless they're there on business). And now I'm back in Ouahigouya.

My community is Mossi, so they do speak Mooré, and I will definitely need to learn since it's a small enough place that many people do not know French. Once I'm comfortable enough in that, though, there are indeed some Fulfuldé speakers there as well. The community seems pretty excited about trees - they're EVERYWHERE. Including the aforementioned neem, as well as mango and baobob. AND, the village gardener is very excited about moringa trees, so I will definitely be doing some moringa plantings there. And if you don't know what moringa are, look them up - they're even more exciting than the neem.

Last, but FAR from least: There is a video club. They watch kung-fu movies. The girl I'm replacing said "bad kung-fu movies", but I explained to her that there's no such thing. She said, "You'll fit right in."

Oops, that wasn't last. I'm also inheriting a PO box in my provincial capital. Here's what would work best for me. Packages, continue to send to the Ouaga address. I'll get them there when I pass through. Letters, after the middle of August, start sending to this address:

David T. Duckworth
BP 205
Burkina Faso

And in case you weren't paying attention, I just gave you a big piece of information regarding where my site is.


Margaret said...

This sounds awesome!!!!! :> I'm so glad for you that it all seems very workable yet still extrememly exotic. :P Also, neem oil is really good for your hair and nails if I remember my cosmetics training, and the moringa (according to Wikipedia) looks like COOL stuff. I'm so happy for you!!! :>

eileen said...

O.K., I found neem, but not moringa.My source says the neem looks like a giant version of the CA pepper tree; the natives(in INDIA)use twigs to chew on and use as a toothbrush; East Indian tree of the mahogany family(aka: margosa) whose oil and bitter bark is used in medicine.