Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Trent goes on vacation and learns to respect the ocean.

Hello everyone!!! I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas and that you will have a Happy New Year. I know that I am having a great December. How about I tell you all about it. Sound good?

So everyone knows that my friend/old college roommate Jade was coming to visit me. I am going to start there. Nothing really much happened before that.

So I have to get a taxi out to airport at 10:30 at night to meet Jade at the airport. I call one of the taxis and he agrees to take me and even says he will sleep at the airport until she arrives. This works out to my advantage. So I go the airport and wait for her plane to come in. She arrives about midnight, and we leave the airport about 1. We go straight to the hotel and talk about her flight and stuff and we finally get to sleep about 3. We get up at 6:30 and we head over to the Transit house and then I head to the Peace Corps bureau because I had an appointment. I get back and then I realize Jade needs to exchange her money out as well. So we wait again. A series of events continue to happen that doesn't allow us to leave Ouagadougou until 3. At this point, Jade gets to experience her first of many buses in Africa.

We arrive in Kaya and I have to argue to get Emma's bike from the guy at the gare and then we take a taxi to my house and we get to see the town of Kaya. Jade just pretty much thinks its cool, but dirty. We arrive at my house and I give her the grand tour, it lasted all but 30 seconds. That night I brought some brochettes and had a brochette sandwich for supper and Jade at some of the pizza that she had for lunch in Ouaga. Also about this time, Jade takes a shower and rinses off and makes a comment about if I knew that I had a few big spiders in my shower. I told her yes. I then told her about my leasing agreement where spiders can stay as long as they stay above my head. Later that night, one was on the floor and it had to be killed. After that, We watched some movies and sleep.

The next day is Jades adventure in Kaya day. We started out at my school for a small tour of where I work and what I do. She did not get to see my classroom because I gave the key to another professor. She did get to meet some of my professor friends who were very nice and only a few asked if she was my wife and if not if they could have her. This was to be expected. After that I took her out to lunch and we ate with Grace. We ate at the Orphan restaurant. It was delicious as always and I even saw some other people eating there for once besides just us. I am hoping they can continue to be open, because their food is amazing; even if I can't afford to eat there everyday. After that we went to Jade's favortie part of going to a foreign country... Shopping. I showed her around my marche (market) and had her see all the things that I buy and a couple of my friends in the marche. She saw where I buy meat at and her only comment was, I can't believe you eat that. After that I took her to my leather marche and let her go crazy. I am not going to ruin the surprises of the things that she bought, but it was alot. I came to the marche with an empty messenger bag and I left carrying it full and another big bag of stuff. After that we went back to my house and ate and watched some Modern Family. We went to sleep, because we knew we were going back to Ouaga tomorrow.

The next day we get up and make our way back to Ouaga. Jade gets to experience her second bus ride, but this time on a big comfortable bus that comes to Kaya I believe once a day. We arrive in Ouaga and drop our stuff off at the hotel and head to the transit house so that Jade and I can get our last hot showers for the next 12 days. After that we (Jade, Shannon, Diana, and I) go out to eat at La Vita where Jade and I get some Chicken Fingers and fries. That day was the day that the new group of volunteers swore in, so after that we went to De Niros (a bar in Ouaga with pool and cheap drinks) and partied with the new volunteers and other volunteers who had come in to see the swear in. Shannon and I drank and Jade and Diana watched. It was a lot of fun, but we left about midnight to get a taxi home because we had to get up at 6 to catch a taxi to the Gare Routier to get on our bus to go to Ghana.

The next morning we get up to go to Ghana and wait for the taxi to take us to the gare. He is a half and hour late, but this was to be expected. TIA (This is Africa; I am telling you this now, because I will be using it a lot in this article I think). We arrive at the Gare and the bus is supposed to leave at 8, but ends up leaving about 9:30 TIA. We are on the bus for about 2.5 hours until we reach the border. That is when all the craziness happens. When you get off the bus you give your passport to a guy who hands it to the Burkina guard, after this you have guys running at you with piles of money trying to get your money. They want you to exchange your CFA(Burkina Money) for CEDE(Ghanaian Money). They are yelling and crowding you and one guy accidently stepped on my flip flop and almost knocked me over. I get into my bag and get my money out and finally get it exchanged with one of the guys. I did not like this process. After wards you wait until they give you your passport back and your walk across the border. Then you get to the Ghana side where they scan your passports in and take a picture of your face and things. It is really high tech versus a guy who just kinda looks at your passport.

After that it was on a bus for the next 15 hours. We made some stops along the way and I got to eat some delicious chicken and fried rice, but it was still a long bus ride. We arrived at Kumasi at 1 in the morning and waited for the next bus to come at 4 in the morning. We got on that bus and it took us about 6 hours to get to Cape Coast. By the time we arrived, we were happy to go to our hotel and just relax for a while. Our hotel here was Hans Cottage Botel. This was a wonderful hotel. It had one of the most bizzare and awesome pools that I had ever seen. The pool was rectangular and once you stepped in there was another rectangle inside that was about 3 foot wide and about 1 foot deep. Then you stepped into that rectangle and there was an L shaped area that was 6 foot deep or two small squares that were about 3 foot deep and 5 foot deep. It had a slide also. Not only this but they had a gift shop and a restaurant that was on a lake. Inside of the lake were fish and crocodiles. The crocodiles were fun to watch while you ate. Also they would feed the fish and you could see the crocodiles come and eat the fish. It was nice and the beds were the best that I have slept in while in Africa. While we were in Cape Coast we went to a slave castle that was used when the British were exporting slaves to America and other places and we also went to Kakum National Park and did a tree top walk. Now, this tree top walk was a literally made of rope, metal ladders, and wooden boards. I felt pretty safe on it, but it shook alot and at some spots the ropes on the side of the bridge were not as high as my chest, so I could have fallen if I was in my klutzy Trent mode. The good news is that I was only about 120 feet off the ground at its tallest, so only enough to kill me. It was beautiful though. After that we stopped by a place that said it was a monkey sanctuary called Monkey Forest Resort. It was not a resort, but it had all kinds of monkeys and was run by the nicest and most fun people ever. They showed us all kinds of monkeys, turtles, civets, a couple of birds, and a couple of snakes. After the tour we sat down and just talked with them. They were telling us about living in Ghana and thier lives. It was my favorite part of Cape Coast. After three days in Cape Coast we left and went to our next city. Busua.

Busua was only about 2 hours away from Cape Coast. We took a tro tro (the ghana equivelent of a Bush Taxi) to Takoradi and then a taxi to the Alaskan. This was the most relaxing part of the trip. We stayed at the Alaskan which is a hotel right on the beach. We had a little hut with 4 beds in it and there were trees lined up with hammocks in them. The restaurant at the Alaskan was amazing and I ate BBQ Chicken and Hamburgers. For lunch, we would go to the Black Star restaurant and eat Burritos or pasta. We went swimming everyday and I did my favorite activity, talk to people. Each days I would go out in Busua and talk to people and I made friends. I am too much like my mother. it was cool though because 2 nights while I was there I went over to a guys house and played some Playstation soccer with him and his friends.

I did have one little mishap while on Busua beach. I was swimming and talking to a Canadian girl. She was watching her friend swim and we started talking because we were both staying at the Alaskan. We kept talking and jumping into the waves and it was a lot of fun. We started talking about how it was weird because the water kept getting cold then hot, then cold then hot. It was strange. So as we are talking we feel a current pulls us really hard and we say go lets go to the beach. So we start swimming and she is a much better swimmer than me and the current just goes crazy and starts pulling us. She gets out of it and heads for the beach. I am not so fortunate. I start getting pulled... and pulled... and pulled. I try swimming against it, but the more that I try the farther I go. I try for about a minute then I quit swimming and just worry about floating. I then start to yell for help. I realize that I am screwed. The more I try to go for the beach, the more the current pulls against me. I see the Canadian girl and she is on the beach yelling for someone to help me. As I am floating, I keep thinking the same thing... I cannot die this way, this is a stupid way to die. Then I finally get myself calmed down and I say, well I may get carried out to sea, but enough people have saw me go that they will get a jet ski and come save me, so I just need to worry about not drowning. Finally, I look up and see a German guy coming towards me with a football in his hand and he is telling me to swim sideways, so I swim sideways and he is telling me calmly to swim towards him and as I do, I realize I am making progress and I am going back to the beach. I reach him and I realize I can stand up and I walk to the beach. This is when I recieve the information that if you are ever caught in a current you are supposed to swim sideways to get out of the current. Information that I did not know, because I have swam in an ocean maybe 3 times my entire life. So now, if I ever start to get pulled out to the ocean again, I know my safety rules. I also learned the rule of if the water keeps changing temperature... get out. So that was my, Oh my God, I am going to die moment. I feel every vacation needs at least one of those... Right?

After that, I was done with the ocean. Which was fine, because our next location was the Desert Rose Lodge. It was run by a Swedish couple and it was a resort by itself. It had a pool and pool tables and was a nice out of the way place to stay. We were staying there for the holiday though and the count was 7 Swedes, 7 Aussies, and 6 Americans. 2 of the Americans were with the Aussies and we made up the other four. It was almost like an International Spring Break. I learned how to play a new game called Kubb which is awesome and is kinda like a Cornhole, but with sticks. We drank and played pool and darts on Christmas Eve, which is when the Swedish celebrate Christmas, and then on Christmas they roasted a pig and it tasted amazing.

The morning after Christmas we left and started our long journey back to Ouaga. We were really excited when we learned we caught our bus back to Ouaga, because we thought that we were going to miss it. Now we are back in Ouaga and Jade leaves at 6 am tomorrow. It has been great having her with me and really awesome to have someone from home who knows about the the things that I do and how I live. It was great for her to see these things. One of the other great benefits is that she is going to be posting pictures. Yes, that is right pictures. I will maybe post a few on here, but if not, they will be linked on my facebook. Finally, you get to see some pictures of things.

Well I know this has been a long one, but again I hope everyone here has a wonderful New years. I have people coming up to Kaya to celebrate. I will give you a shorter blog post about that later.

I love you all and let the countdown begin. 7 months left.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Trent hunts a child...

Ok so I realize that I have been sucking as of late and that my blog entries are about as boring as watching paint dry. I apologize to you (by you, I mean my faithful readers). So I am going to try to zap some energy into this one. Watch out, because here I go.

Ok, so about 3 weeks ago I was lazy and gave 2 kids 5 mille to go buy me milk. I gave them both 100cfa as a gift to go do this. The next day I was out 5200cfa. The kids never came back. So I told my bread guy about this and he said that he knew who the kids were and would tell me. So I waited. It paid off yesterday...

I was having a bad day. My kids would not listen and were just basically laughing and playing the whole class. I had a kid after class who kept calling me Nasara and would not stop; so I threw rocks at him in frustration. I know there should be better ways, but whatever. Judge me.

So I am walking up to my bread guy and he tells me that right there is one of the kids who took my five mille. I turn and look at him. He looks at me. I feel like a hunter who has seen the deer and the deer has seen him and they are both just waiting for the other one to make a move. I tell him that I just want to talk to him. He tells me that his friend is the one who took the money and I should talk to him. Well sure enough, guess who walks around the corner... I see him and he sees me and he starts running away.

However, there is a problem with Burkinabe, they want to see things. I know this. I know that he will want to taunt me a little. So I wait. Sure enough a minute later he is peaking his head around the corner. I walk around the corner and he has moved up to the next building. I give my bag to the brochette (meat on a stick) guy and I wait. He comes back around the corner and sees me, I see him. Then the chase is on. I start running and he starts running.

I know that I have no chance in hell in actually catching this kid. He is an Burkinabe child. He is physically made to run away from lions and shit. I am a fat American who is physically made to... well, not chase Burkinabe children. So after about 3 blocks, I lose him. He is gone, but I have made my point; which is that I will get you eventually.

I go back to where my bag is and there is a small crowd of people and they are all berating the first kid who took my money. I go up and shake his hand and ask him if he will do it again. He says, no with a look of absolute shame and unsure if I am going to beat the living shit out of him. I say ok and start to walk away. (ok honestly I told him ok, but if you steal again I will use my Nasara magic and send a snake after you while you sleep, but either way.)

I turn back and the people are yelling at him and are deciding whether to beat him and that is when I get angry. I turn around and tell them that it is just money and money comes and goes, it is not important and if I hear about anyone hitting this kid; I will be angry and I will come after them. There was an older Muslim man leading the charge and I looked at him and gave him the Burkinabe finger wag (which is very effective by the way) and told him that I would come for him if he continued to try to do any of this. He looked at me and did the palms up ok ok, like whatever you say (crazy Nasara) and let it go. This is one thing that I have learned from being a teacher. You speak to anyone in an authoritative tone and they take it as authority. I don't think it will be highly effective in the states, but it is a nice trick here.

Also, this will probably be my last blog until January. My friend/old roommate Jade will be visiting me in Burkina starting on Monday and the next Friday I go to Ghana. I am going to see how another third world country works. But this one has a beach!!!!

My time here in Peace Corps is coming to a slow halt. In March, I have my COS conference where they tell you everything you need to do to close your service. CLOSE OF SERVICE... Already? Only 8 months left here and I am already freaking out about what I am going to do in America. It seems so close... Crazy.

Hoping Everyone a Very Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Trent's students protest dust... no seriously.

So life in Kaya has been pretty normal as of late. I had a PSDN meeting last week and celebrated Carolyn's birthday with her and made sure the newsletter got out. I then returned to Kaya and have been teaching according to schedule pretty much. Then Today happened.

I am awakened by a call from Emma at 8 and she tells me that the kids are graving (aka: skipping school and protesting). I say ok, and try to call some professors to find out what is going on. I get a hold of one and he tells me that his wife had twins. I say; congratulations and I will come to the school in an hour. He then tells me the kids are graving because of the dust.

At first I thought he was kidding. I mean; I live near the Sahel and well; dust happens. It is right now the Hamartan and that means the dust is even worse; but how do you protest that. I arrive at my school and as I look down the road; I see that they have set up tons of little blockades using rocks or logs or other various materials and they have set some of them on fire.

I enter my school and just sit with my professors who are laughing and are just watching things happening. The students are protesting because they want a paved road to the school. I am in agreeance with them on this issue. We have one other main road that everyone uses in Kaya and it is not paved; however on this road is the Regional Hospital. It makes perfect sense to pave this road. However; apparently the way to get this done is to block the road and set it on fire. There were probably 300-500 kids (ages 7-25) protesting today. It was interesting to watch.

I don't know what finally happened; I think it was just the repo hours so it finally stopped. But it was interesting because a lot of the community seemed to be behind the kids. The kids didn't destroy anything (besides some trash) and no one got hurt. They even turned in a form that morning demanding what they wanted. All in all an interesting protest to watch. We have kids blocking a road here and burning things and no one gets pepper sprayed... Maybe a few policeman in the states should have seen this.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Trent talks about death, plagues, and boring conversations.

So I have said that I have been busy and this is an honest statement. I started classes and an english club on Monday. Today I go to teach and I find out that a student has died, so there will be not classes that day. This is an interesting phenomenon here in Burkina. If a student dies or professor or someone, they cancel classes that day. Now, I sadly found out that one of the students that I really liked died during the summer also. He was one of the guys here who danced in the traditional dances and was a good kid. However, I did not know his name. That is actually another strange phenomenon here. No one knows anyones name. They just kinda know them. But while it was sad that a student died, it was kinda a business as usual approach to life. Minus the lack of classes. They do not have the same emotions attached to death that I see in the states alot of times. I asked the students where the student I liked who danced was and they just said, oh he died this summer in and accident. This was one of the kids who I assumed was one of his best friends. I ,very american, was like, oh I am sorry. and the kid just started asking when I was starting teaching again. I think it must be because people die here more frequently, People get sick or in accidents. I guess it is a ca va allez thing.

Also, we are in mini hot season right now and moving into cool season. It is going to start to cool down. It will be nice to be cooled down, however that means that harvesting is almost over and ever since they started we have had more grasshoppers than I can count. I feel like I am at Biblical plague proportions of grasshoppers. A few manage to sneak into my house each day and they love to jump around my house and jump on me while I am sleeping. It is really annoying. I keep a cup of water next to me when I sleep, because I wake up all the time craving water and I have to now check it everytime to make sure I don't have a grasshopper backstroking in my water cup, or worse doing the dead man's float.

Anyway, I recieved some great news this week and that is that my brother got a job!!! I am very excited for him. I know that it is hard to do right now, so I am very very thankful and glad he is so talented.

Tomorrow Diana is going to come and stay with me and going to go the Embassy thing at my school. I am glad to have the company. So Diana, Emma, and I will all be at my school in the morning and helping doing English clubs and stuff. Then in the afternoon we are going to Madame Governer's house. That should be an affair. I will be hob knobbing with all the important people showing off my terrible French.

I got made fun of a little bit today because the professors were having one of thier political/history/whats up in the world talking sessions. I sat in on it for about 40 minutes. If you people in America think that I had trouble paying attention before, you are going to be in for a real treat when I get home. I am very good about just sitting there pretending to listen and just thinking about things. Out of the 40 mins, I probably payed attention to 15.

Also, I have finished watching Mad Men (all four seasons), 2 seasons of Arrested Development, and 3 episodes of new Glee. I also caught up on True Blood. Also for those interested, there is apparently a Zombie movie that was filmed in Burkina Faso it is called..The Dead. I have not watched it yet, I think I am going to wait for Diana to come and watch it with me. I think it will scare the bejesus out of her and that will be fun.
That reminds me of when I used to get together with Krystal and Amber and watch Horror movies. I really do love Horror movies and I am sad that I am missing another Halloween. I am going to have to really go out the year that I get back.

Which for those of you counting, I have only 9 months left. Yes, that is correct. If you are planning on getting knocked up and having a baby before I get back, you better do it soon. For those nice people who are waiting until I get back, I appreciate the thought. I am missing enough weddings and things. I don't need tons of unknown babies being thrown at me when I get back as well. Let me enjoy them while they are in Utero. Because I won't want anything to do with them for about 2 years after that. I like them when they are fun, not when they just sit there. By the way, if the first word your kid says to me is Nasara, I promise I will send it to Burkina.

Ok so I was going to post this before and I forgot my key at my house, so I did not, but guess what; that means that you get more of an update!!! Yay!!

So Diana came to stay with me on Wednesday so we could be up bright and early for the Embassy visit. We arrive at the school at 815 and go over the star spangled banner with the three kids who learned it. They sang it terribly, but they did have all the words and the general rythym so I was happy. The first thing they did in the morning was an english club with the students where they taught them about the food pyramid, only thing is, that they used a plate. This is the new method of teaching people what they should be eating. They create a plate and divide it up with 4 food groups then add a glass that represents dairy. Apparently this is a less complicated food pyramid. The kids seemed to understand and follow very well. They did say that chocolate was dairy, but I kinda told my group that was ok. When the lady saw that they put chocolate on the table, she said that she liked where their head was. So after the english club they talked to the students about ways that they could go to college in the United States. They talked and told them about myths and the real way to get to the United States and how expensive it is. After that, Emma, Diana, and I peaced out to my place and I made some Vache qui rite mac and cheese. So after we ate it was time to go to the governors house. We arrive and we are late, because they are running early!?!?! I was shocked and appalled by this. I was also very impressed. So I arrive and they were just finishing with the pomp and circumstance. We showed up just in time for pictures. After pictures, there was cultural dancing. Which I have seen a hundred times. I sat and watched and then the governor comes and grabs me (literally) and takes me inside. She sits me down at a few tables, (it looked alot like the last supper setup, if so then I am the person three to the left of Jesus) then she brings me food and wine. We are guests of honor with the Embassy people. I was just glad I could sit and talk with some of the Embassy people.

After we are leaving the governors, we go to get on our bicycles. This is funny because, everyone else is in big white SUVs with air conditioning. We wait for the cars to pass and as the people are passing in thier nice cars, we can see there faces. They all said, oh those poor Peace Corps people. Look at them with thier bicycles and thier helmets. They pass us and take the road out of the Governors to the lycee. One thing they did not realize is that the Governors house is on a big hill. So it sucked to bike up there (or in Diana's case walk up there), but the way down was so much fun. It was like a roller coaster and I was almost certain that I was going to fly off my bike at any minute. It is a semi steep hill that is a dirt road. Tons of fun, but semi-dangerous. We are going down the hill and we beat the parade of cars going to the lycee, but one thing we did not think about was that they were still going to pass us right before the lycee. When a car drives down this road, dust flies up and creates a huge dust cloud and they had like 15 cars. When they got out, one lady said she felt so bad because she could see the dust hitting us in the face. lol. We just said that we were used to it. Score one for hardcore Peace Corps.

After some more cultural dancing and a sketch, we were able to leave and it was time to go back to the school for the town hall meeting. Now this meeting was supposed to be about asking questions about America and them being in Burkina. It turned into a session where different groups came and asked for things. This continued for about 40 minutes. It was very annoying. The Embassy was annoyed and it was nice to see other Americans annoyed with Burkinabe. lol. They left afterwards and Emma, Diana, and I went to get something to eat.

I taught this morning (Friday) and we went to the Marche and Diana bought all kinds of stuff and I helped her decrease the price of stuff. I ended up buying a small bag with a symbol on it for Ghana. I enjoyed it and it will be a small bag that I can use to carry some cash, my camera, and phone in. It will come in handy at the beach and places. We had some meat sandwiches for supper that I made and are watching movies. Tomorrow, (aka when I update this) I am going to go swimming at Hotel Pacific. Hopefully Emma will be able to come and it will be fun. I can't wait.

So.. More to come, this was more rambling than I planned it to be. Oh, but one more thing. I have 2 reservations for places in Ghana!!! I am going to be on a Beach this Christmas. Hopefully, sipping cocktails and eating wonderful food with Jade (one of my friends/roommates from college who is visiting me), Shannon, and Diana. I am very excited for this trip and I go to Ghana in about 50 days. The time will fly by. So I am trying to think of things to write about... How about you guys email me some ideas of some things you guys still want to hear about that I have not talked about.

Busy in Burkina,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Trent dreams... in between his preparations.

So I am back in Kaya and I am trying to at least one bit of work a day. This can sometimes be challenging. Especially when I have slept in until almost noon the past two mornings. It was accidental this morning. I set my alarm the past two days, but have refused to get up. I also have refused to sleep the past two nights. One night I dreamed I was doing things in America, but then I freaked out because I needed to get back to Burkina because I hadn't asked permission to leave. I actually dream this quite frequently. I will be in the middle of a dream and for some reason I will remember that I am supposed to be in Burkina Faso and there is no way that the nice things in my dream are Burkina, so then I freak out about how I am going to get back in Burkina without getting into trouble. I usually contemplate how I am going to do this, then I wake up and realize... JUST KIDDING!!! You are in Burkina. I sometimes have to look around the room a couple of times and verify that I am actually in Africa and the Burkina stuff was not a dream. It plays with my head sometimes.

Last night though, I just had trouble getting to sleep. I was tossing and turning for probably 2 hours before I got to sleep. I was thinking about friends in America and thinking about what I am doing here. It is craziness sometimes. I think I looked at facebook too much. It made me long for the crazy people at home. I think it was because of how I have seen everyone's lives move forward at home and I feel like my life is stuck on Pause. I will feel better about things after I start teaching again.

So as many of you know, I have site mates. There are three of us here in Kaya. We had a meeting about what we are planning on doing over the next year. I have decided that at site, Emma is the motivation, Grace is the communication, and I am the execution. Emma motivates us to do a project and is great about finding projects at site that need to be done, Grace knows everyone and all of the officials and makes sure things are kosher government wise, then if there are problems or if people don't do what they are supposed to do, I come in and find at why and get the ball rolling. If I am visiting people it is not usually a fun visit, that or I am following up and making sure stuff is getting done. I can also do the leg work.

Now don't get me wrong, we all do a little bit of all these jobs, but those are the three parts of the Kaya Corporation.

In the future the Kaya Corporation will be putting on a fair for NGO's (Non-Governmental Organizations... think of like aid services), we will be doing tree planting (bleh... but I am promised that I will not be digging holes, so I am ok with it), and we have one other project discussed in the works. So YAY!! I am in charge of the Fair and doing the grant work with that project, Emma is in charge of the tree Planting, and Grace is in charge of the third project. Also, we are getting ready for the Embassy to come up to Kaya and visit our site at the end of the month.

The funniest thing is that all of us are going to be out of site for the month of December. I am going be here a little bit of time with Jade who is visiting me, but that is going to be about it. Grace and Emma are both going home to spend time with the families. I am not to jealous, because I have already seen Americaland and all its splendor.

We are also going to be continuing with our own site projects including English Clubs, Commerce clubs, Health activities, working with our schools/workplaces, and I think I am going to be doing a world map project after January.

So we have alot on our plates. We are going to change Kaya. They will feel our impact throughout the city.

Also in Exciting news, we have all three noticed a new restuarant opening up in Kaya. It is called Pierinis? or something like that. I have noticed an older white lady who has been ordering Burkinabe around. Emma and I are hoping for an Italian restaurant. We will have to see what happens.

Tomorrow I have to get up and go to my lab and install some programs on my computers. I have some mouse games, some geography games (seterra), and a language learning game (selingua). I would suggest seterra for everyone. It is really easy to download and is a fun way to learn your countries. I just got tired of being lost. lol. Not that I think I have ever been truly found. If you have directions, send them my way.

Missing your faces,

P.S. I also have to really get on emailing my stuff for my vacation to Ghana in December. That is rapidly approaching as well.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trent starts school... kinda.

So it is that time of year. It is time for school to start again. It is always met with mixed reactions. So far most of the volunteers I know seem to be on the same page... I DON'T WANT TO GO BACK!!! NO PLEASE!!!

This might be a little exaggerated; but close to true. I look at it this way. School is a return to a "normal" life for me here in Africa; so I welcome it. Everyone is glad to be returning to normalcy. I am not teaching yet; but will hopefully be teaching in 2 weeks. That is my goal. Other "normal" teachers have started teaching. I will be bugging my censeur(sp?) next week and making a schedule.

One semi bit of bad news is that I have been without power for about 5 days. This is not that big of a deal; it is just annoying. I forgot to pay my bill so they cut off my power. It was not even a money issue, I just flat out forgot. So I have been dealing with Sonabel to get my power turned back on. I paid monday morning and monday afternoon they came and took my power box away. My neighbor tried to explain they were supposed to be connecting the power back; but they didn't believe him. So I went in this morning and explained what happened and they said I will have power tonight. I am not really hopeful about this; but it could happen. If not I got a phone number I can call now. Go me!!

I have the Embassy coming for a visit to Kaya soon and I need to get stuff prepared for that. It will be interesting. I will update more next time. I amsorry I have been kinda ad with replying to people. I was very busy and did not get around to it. I am working on planning a trip to Ghana in Dec and am using internet time for that as well.

I love all of my faithful followers. (even the not so faithful :)


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Trent goes to the fair...

So when we last left Trent, he was in Kaya getting ready to go into Ouaga for a VAC (Volunteer Action Commitee) meeting, warden training, and the 50th Anniversery Fair in Ouaga... Let us continue our adventure..

So I arrive in Ouaga and I get put to work. Everyone has stuff to be doing, because the Fair is coming to Ouaga. A fair that Peace Corps is putting on. We have a VAC meeting where I get to sit in and listen to the people who make the country run, then work with other people to get stuff ready for the fair. On wednesday, I go to the CD's (Country Director) house and go through Warden Training. I am the back up warden to Kaya. If stuff blows up this year, I will be ready to fulfill my duties again.

So now it is the day of the fair. We load up our stuff at 6 in the morning and we go to the Maison du peuple. As we are driving... the wind starts to pick up... the sky gets dark... and it starts to rain.

The bus pulls up to the maison du peuple and there are a bunch of fallen tents. There were already some people there and apparently when the wind picked up, it started to send the Tents flying through the air and volunteers were literally holding and being dragged by these huge tents. Eventually people were being dragged to much, so people ran for cover and away from the flying metal and tarp death traps.

By the time we arrived, the wind had died down a bit. (I forgot to mention that all of us are in our best dress because we are going to a swear in ceremony. The press and everything.) I take off my shirt and use a wife beater and my dress pants and all of us go out and try to fix tents... in the rain. Everyone is pitching in and doing something. We have to move tents that are broken and put other tents back together and try to avoid spots where the rain has gathered. At one point, I was moving a tent tarp and a metal bar swung past me and almost took out another volunteer. We all decided that it was the closest thing to Hurricane relief that we were going to get to in Burkina Faso.

After we get alot of that stuff done, most of the volunteers are filthy and wet, but we might be on Burkina television... so we have a grab box at the Transit house and the New swearing in volunteers brought some of thier own personal clothes and everyone just threw on the best that they could. We actually got some pretty amazing results. Everyone looked nice and the sun came out and the rain stopped. So everyone after swear in, got to put thier booths up and everything went along pretty much as planned.

The fair was alot of fun. I worked the PSDN relaxation station and carnival. I worked the Dunk Tank and the Burkinabe loved it. It was the first time that they had ever seen a dunk tank and they loved to dunk the person. It helped that people could taunt them in Moore, French, or English. It was alot of fun. We had tons of good food, good music, and good Artisanal stuff for sale. Watch some of the video that I will be linking for more info...

So day three rolls around and everything starts happening. Christy Ross teaches a dance group who was dancing all three days. They were really good and reminded me of an amateur showchoir group. There was 2 girls and one boy. Well one of the girls did a solo and it was Single Ladies by Beyonce... Well I know a little bit of the dance. Another guy here knows the whole dance and is a dancer. They said that we should do it with her. I agree, but the other guy's back hurts. So the Christy (who choregraphed the dances) said that she would do it. I instantly hated my decision to do this. I am trying to practice and learn the version of the dance that they know and literally get about an hour and a half to get this whole dance down. We (Thank God) did not do the whole song, but it was still alot to learn fairly quickly.

It becomes time to perform and I did ok. It wasn't great, but the audience loved it and even the CD said that it was awesome. So I win.

After that it was time to get ready for the wife of the president. She was coming to our closing ceremony for the fair. We had Floby (One of the biggest pop stars in Burkina) write a song for us about Peace Corps that was awesome and he sung it at the closing ceremony.

We went through the speeches and the ceremony ended. Afterwards there was a reception and I got to talk to the wife of the president. We mostly talked about food in Kaya. I have now talked to the wife of the president and shaken her hand 2. I am very important in Burkina Faso. lol.

We had an all volunteer meeting today that I stayed for, but I am looking forward to going back to Kaya tomorrow. I have to start getting things ready for school... oh and I found out the Embassy is coming to Kaya on the 5th of October and wants to see a project that I have done... I haven't really done any tangible products. This should be interesting.

Wish me luck,

Sorry this is a later update... you can go to and people will be putting up more videos. Also you can find out more info about Burkina Peace corps. Videos on the front page. Thanks!!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Trent goes to meetings... then a few more.

So after I posted my last blog, I was supposed to be at my site until Friday of that week. That did not happen. I got dragged into Ouaga early. There are worse things that can happen to you, but it was a slight inconvience. So I get a call and am told that we need to come in on Tuesday because we are filming a tv spot for the fair and they need volunteers. I do not really want to come in; but they have also moved my PSDN meeting so that all of us can be on the show. So I go into Ouaga. some people choose to come in Weds morning; but I had a few things that I wanted to get done at the bureau, so I went in on Tuesday. Weds morning arrives and they tell us that they might not need all of us; but to stay pretty just in case. So we wait around for 3 hours only to be told that they dont need us. They only used 7 people. So I had another day free in ouaga to spend money that I need not to spend.

So Thursday was our PSDN meeting and I would talk about what happened but it is confidential. Sorry! But we are starting some cool new iniatives and trying to get them bureau approved. It was a really good meeting. Afterwards we had a ¨family dinner¨ PSDN seems to eat together after all our meetings. So we call them family dinners. where we had chili and cornbread. It was like americaland. It was delicious and had tons of veggies even.

After that I go to the bureau on friday morning to get some information about something and I get stopped by one of the secretaries and asked if I will fold some papers for her for the fair.I tell her of course and spend the next hour doing tri folds. It reminded me of when I was at the bank folding loan paperwork to be mailed. After that I hopped a bus back to kaya. I arrived in the afternoon and Emma asked me to go shopping with her. I like to haggle and she likes to have a shopping buddy; so it works out well. I got done and went home and relaxed. The next day was a mixture of me cleaning my house and watching movies. Bridesmaids is really funny for those of you who haven't seen it.

The bike tour came to Kaya yesterday. They arrived around noonish and we took them to eat at trois luit. It was nice. Afterwrds, I took half the group back to my house and relaxed. I made them American mac and cheese and Taco meat. They were ecstatic. We started to watch bridesmaids but they all wanted to sleep. we went to sleep at 9pm. That is very early for me; but they got me up at 4:30. So it evened out. I will probably take a nap today. I still have tons of work to do. I have to get ready for school!! It starts in October! Also I will be in Ouaga from 18th to the 25th for a VAC meeting, warden training, and the fair. I have to organize a booth for PSDN. I did not think I would ever be this busy in country, I kinda like this unexpected surprise.

Love and Peace

P.s; I really need to work on my coke habit here. Stupid liquid crack...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Trent masters the existential crisis … and is also back in Burkina.

Who am I? Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing with my life? Why do I ask so many questions? The existential crisis is not for everyone. When even thinking about having an existential crisis, you need to make sure you are ready to deal with it. You can’t ask the big questions and expect everything to stay the same. You have to realize you may ask the questions and find your life to be quite pathetic or lacking something. The opposite could also happen as well and you could find that not only are you living a happy and fulfilled life, but you are on the right track for your future. To those people, I would like to say, “Screw you.”

So I, again, am having to ask myself the big questions in life. What do I want to do after Peace Corps? Where do I want to go after Peace Corps? What should I do in my last year of Peace Corps? Who are my real friends in country and who do I just put up with because they are here. After my trip to America, these questions seemed even more blurry. I did realize that grad school is not in my future. I do not have the drive (or the cash) to make myself go through more years of school. I am young though and maybe in a few years I will decide that I can really choose something and stick with it. I won’t hold my breath.

So let me talk about what I have been doing since I have been back in country, because that is why you actually read this blog, not to here me blather on about existential crisis’s.

So first off I want to say that I had a wonderful time in Americaland. I got to eat tons of food, I gained 10lbs, I went to a family reunion, I helped move my brother in with his girlfriend, I helped one of my best friends move in with her boyfriend (who happens to be my brother also), I went to a water park, I got to spend time with my friends and family and see some people who had already left Burkina. It was great and it was much needed. I will say that I was ready to go back to Burkina, though. I have a year left and I have a lot of stuff to do in this year. I am at my halfway mark!!! Although, really, I am hoping to be mostly finished with the really important stuff by the end of May. I have another school year, a vacation to Ghana, and a visitor from America to look forward to. It is going to be great and I have already started. Let me just start from when I get back to Burkina.

I get back from Burkina at about 430pm and hail a taxi to take me to the transit house. I arrive and find out my neighbor in Barsalgo is at the Transit house and I get to say goodbye to him. So that was great. I also got to see a couple of other volunteers who I really liked and was able to say goodbye to them. It is weird to think that in another 2 weeks, I will have been in country longer than anyone (minus crazy third years and even crazier fourth years). So that night, I went out to Verdoyant and ate great food with Evan, Leslie, Shannon, and Evan. It was Evan's last night in country and the first time that he had ever eaten at Verdoyant. We went back to the transit house and afterwards we had some goodbye drinks with Ouaga Rob, Duckworth, Shannon, and Evan. It was a good time.

So the next morning I get up and get my stuff ready and I go to Kaya. I take a bus back and get back at 3 and drop my stuff off at my house and go straight to the training location for Camp G2low.

Camp G2low is a Girls and Guys leading our world. It is a training camp in everything (Sexual Health, Nutrition, Drugs and Alcohol, Family Planning, Equality for Women). It covers lots of subjects in 1 week. The first week in our camp is a boy’s week and the second week is a girl’s week. There is another camp happening in the southwest of the country that covers the same information.

So I arrive and training is already going on and everyone is getting their stuff prepared. The training went pretty well, but the highlight was the session with Shannon (Country Director) and Alexis (Bureau worker) who gave a session on sexual violence. It covers the spectrum of what sexual violence is and describes what violence feels like.

It is a great session. I have seen Shannon do the session 3 times and each time something new is brought up, especially with working with host Country nationals. After two days of training is time to get ready for the campers to arrive. They arrived on Sunday morning/afternoon and we had a grand welcome ceremony for them. Madame Governour, the APE, my Provisieur, and many others were in attendance. It was a great ceremony with music, speeches, and cokes. I took tons of pictures (yes, I have camera number 3 and yes it is already broken, but I will get into that later.)

I am not going to go deeply into the two weeks of camp. The wrap up of the camp was that we trained over 50 boys and over 50 girls on tons of subjects that they would have never been able to receive information on before. The kids were really excited and were excited to be learning about all the subjects. Most of the kids here had no idea how their sexual organs actually worked or even knew what puberty was. The camp was amazing with guest speakers and was very inspirational. I feel like when I leave this country, I know that I have touched the lives of these kids and made their lives better… but I will not be doing the camp next year.

I am not going into why I am not going to do the camp if it happens next year, if you absolutely have to know. Send me an email. I believe if you don’t have anything nice to say… come talk to me. Just kidding! I just don’t want to broadcast my feelings about it on the internet.

So after the camp I go to MSC. I was so happy to see my friends in Secondary Education. It was great to see what everyone was up to and how people were doing. We, unfortunately, had to sit through a bunch of boring sessions, but that was only one days worth. We had a feedback session about how things were going and Secondary Education felt that things were mostly positive. We had an IT only meeting on the morning of Ramadan and it was amazing how many ideas and things that we came up with. We are all going to try to get our program sharing down to a system and exchanged some software that will make all of our lives easier. I am hoping to try some out this year.

I had some medical sessions and went and saw the dentist. It was a better dentist than I have ever been to in the states. I got my teeth cleaned with this hook thing that shot water and then right before they were done they gave my teeth a salt scrub thing. It was wicked weird. I got x-rays afterwards with the dentist and I have no cavities. Yay for me.

I got up for the physical exam the morning after the dentist and everything went well there. It turns out I have low blood pressure though. He asked me if I was feeling dizzy or anything and I told him I wasn’t. My blood pressure was 100/50. I don’t really know how good or bad that is, but he seemed to think it was fine. It must be my wonderful diet and exercise… yeah.

So right now I am back at site and am writing this lovely article from the comfort of my own bed. But I am going to wrap it up, because I have a laundry lady coming at 7 in the morning to do my laundry. “le sigh”

Tomorrow’s mission is to clean house, update blog post, and buy meat for dinner. I think I should be able to get all this done easily. We shall see.

Thanks if you’re still reading, you’re the best.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Trent earns his vacation

So last time I told everyone that I was going to be busy. This turned out to be an understatement. I arrived in Ouaga on the 20th so that I could get ready to go to Sapone on the 21st. I got told to arrive at the office at 6 am. This seemed bizarre to me and I was pretty sure that I needed to be there at 6 am on the 22nd, but I went ahead and arrived at 6 anyways. I turned out to be right and I didn't actually leave until 9 in the morning. I was not that upset, because I expected this. I also got to spend most of the day with the new stagiares and Jean luc. Jean luc can always put you in a good mood. So we go ahead and do our session for the day, which is HIV and inform all of the stagiares about the statistics and facts. After that I got to go out to lunch with Sarah, Kathryn, and Kate. We show up and all the stagiares have also went to the same restaurant. It was fun to talk to them all and see what they were up to. I talked to alot of them and could already see group dynamics that were forming. They said that they wanted to be called the Kumbaya group like the other group and I told them that they are only 2 weeks in and to talk to me at week 11.

We went back to afternoon sessions and that was just them getting vaccinations and doing language. It was fun though, because I got to talk to past language people from stage and they got to see how much my French has improved. I actually got told that inspired hope in some people because they heard stories about how bad my French was and now how good I speak it. That was nice. A little bit of a lie, but I'll take it.

So I went back that night with a couple people from the bureau and it was a fun ride back to Ouaga. We talked about multiple marriages and men versus women. It was fun and funny. I arrived back to Ouaga and I was going to go out to eat at Gondwana. This place made me feel like I was in America. I had a cheeseburger and french fries and some white wine. The atmosphere was amazing and had sand and they gave you a small tea at the end of your meal and also a shot of bissap with rum. It was nice.

I get back to the Transit house and it is time to work on the Diversity powerpoint for the next day. It should take about an hour. It ended up taking about 3 hours with strong words between people. This is the problem when working on a sensivity subject like Diversity. Everyone has a different background and everyone finds different things offensive. So needless to say, there were a few arguements about this and about what we would put in the activities and the stuff that we would not. In the end, we all reached an agreement on what we would do and the way we would phrase things. It was not the most fun time of my life, but was interesting to see people's viewpoints on things.

I went to bed late again that night and that would equal about 6 hours of sleep for Trent over the past two days because of internet and other things.

So I get to the bureau at 6 and we are off for Sapone again. This morning we have Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault talk first. This is the morning session. It is a great session and it allows both Burkinabe and Americans see where people are coming from and what each of them find appropriate and innappropriate. It was another fun session. I knew for the most part where the Burkinabe were coming from because I have been here for a year, but the new stagiares were in awe. It was fun to see peoples reactions and show them some of the subtle and some not-so- subtle things the Burkinabe do.

After that we ate a quick lunch and I got back so I could do my Diversity session with Al(exandria). It was a good session. I talked a little to much, as always, but it still went pretty good and they got all the lessons that we were trying to teach. The car wasn't leaving until 530 so I got to sneak in a two hour nap. It was great.

So we arrive in Ouaga with 12 stagiares who need to leave early in the morning to reach thier site for demyst. Sarah and I get the hotel situation knocked out and I get ready to leave them, but then realize Sarah has only been to ouaga 2 and has no clue where anything is at. So I take them out to eat at Quali serv. It is cheap and good food.

Now I was supposed to return and have had some work done that I did not get done yet. I was going to get it done the night before, but the other meeting ran over and now I didn't get back to Ouaga until late and had to help babysit some new stagiares. So by the time that I get back to the Transit house I have to face the anger of a few volunteers. It was a mixed bag and the work only took about 15 mins to do, but I didn't have it done. Soooo, needless to say, some awkwardness for about 10 mins, but then I really just didn't care after that because I was tired and didn't care. I went to bed after a few hours and slept.

I had to get to the bus by 1 because the car that I was going to take with my stagiares and thier language tutor was leaving. So I arrive at 12:30 and the stagiares arrive shortly after. It was funny because our bus was broken, so we had to wait another hour. We finally get things loaded and we all get to Ouaga.

My new friends had fun in kaya. I took them to the pool and made them delicous food and showed them around the dolo stand. The downside was that 2 of them got semi-sick. I tried my best, but unfortunately there isn't much I can do to keep you 100 percent healthy here. I just try to be as careful as possible. So it was fun getting to know them and they taught me a new card game. It was fun and I had a good time with them. They were all Formal Education volunteers and some of them might be coming near me. So that would be amazing. I will be in America when they figure out thier sites. We will have to wait and see.

Well they left that sunday and I spent the day, just being glad to be by myself. Well, kinda. I had a little drama with another volunteer that day, but got it all worked out. I just decided that day, I need to get out of this country. I had not been the nicest when faced with adversity the past week. Usually I remain very calm and just try to find the nicest way to resolve things. I was a little mean this past week when it came to conflict resolution. My mom said that she was being very compromising this past week and I guess to counter that I was being very uncompromising. I just need my break to happen and have a little relaxation. A couple people were shocked that I haven't taken a vacation yet. I can understand why. It has been over a year and I think another month would probably not be good for me here. It is ok because I leave here in 11 days!!! I will be on a plane and on the way to Americaland!

So close, yet so far away!!!

Also a special shoutout to Sandy Sponsel. I went to the post today to pick up some packages for someone who lives close to me, only to realize that I had a letter!!!! I want to thank you Sandy for the card and it was a pleasant surprise! Hearing about people in America that are thinking about me is nice. I am sure that I will be able to see you and chat a while.

Also I am so far speaking at the Geneva United Methodist Church on July 24 after the service and I believe I am going to talk to the Library in Shelbyville or the Grover Museum or someplace like that to do a second talk about Burkina Faso and just my life so far. So if you are interested, I hope to keep things updated on here. I will post the second date, when I get it lined up and am able to establish something for sure.

Thanks everyone and see you soon!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Trent takes a mini vacation in Boulsa and goes to a teacher Party!

So in my last post I talked about how I was excited to go to Boulsa and see Becky and Tim. I now remember why I was so excited. They know how to treat a guest. I left for Boulsa on Monday and arrived at the gare (place where buses and stuff leave) at 7 so I can get a taxi brousse to Boulsa. It turns out that I have the same taxi brousse driver and he doesn't leave until 8:30. So I sit at a nearby restuarant and read a book and drink 2 cokes. I then start on my taxi brousse ride. It is about 3 hours long and is on a dirt road the entire route. The dirt road is ok in some places; but suck in other spots. We stop and pick people up on the road and in villages and drop people off. Luckily at one of the early stops on the road, the guy in the front seat left and I stole the front seat. No one complained; because I am a Nasara. It comes with good and bad; this is one of the good. While on the road; we stopped at Piboare and there is a police station on the road there. Well, of course; the few people see the nasara and decide that they need to document my ID. It is really just an excuse to talk to me. So I went and talked and made them happy. We continued along the road and I really took a minute to take everything in. I sometimes have to remind myself that this is not something that people see everyday. Stuff was looking prettier because it has been raining; so we actually had some greenery on the road and there were mini river looking things.

So I arrive in Boulsa and when I get to the house there is Becky and Tim waiting for me and they do the tres integre thing and give me a cold goblet of water. It had ice in it and was amazing. That was just the start. Each day Becky and Tim made wonderful food for me; we watched movies and television and bitched about Burkina. It is a very good release for all of us. Especially Tim who is glad to compare doing IT with another person. We had dinner with Becky and Tims adopted family one night and they are alot of fun. Mr. and Mrs. Simpoare. They were impressed by the little Moore that I know and were teaching me new phrases to use. They told me that I need to come visit at least one more time before I go home and I told them that I would. Hopefully I like the new replacement volunteer going to Boulsa. So after a few days of lounging around and having a rest from site; it was time to head back to Kaya. Which meant another 3.5 hour taxi brousse ride. My butt is always sore no matter where I sit. lol.

So I arrive back Thursday night and I am told by my homologue that tomorrow night is the end of the year party. This is the official party held by the school for the professers that says school is done. So the party starts at 18. I arrive at 18:15 and we finally go into the building to get things started at 19. I was surprised we even started then. So we had a feast and it was great. There were cokes, beer, 2 types of chicken, french fries, crudite, and rolls. It was delicious. I stuck to cokes, but then they busted out a bottle of champagne so I had a little bit and then the attendant poured me a small cup of whiskey. Well all during the feast there are people talking and doing thier speeches and I actually followed some of the speeches. One professer is a comedian and he did a little stand up thing; I could only follow about half of what he said; but that is pretty normal for this professer.

Then the dancing started...

So the music hear and the dancing here is really different. I cant really describe it really well. Americans dance mostly torso up and Africans dance hips down. Well the professers drag me out and alot of the male professers are dancing. Remember mostly guys dance here; unless its a women's dance. So I start dancing and following along. There was a guy video taping the stuff to show at next years begininning of school party and I am sure he got some good shots of me following along with the few students that were there. They were impressed that I could keep up and follow. I am doing a pretty good job of dancing African and controlling myself; then it happens. The guy said he is going to play a song for me and points to me. I was wondering which American song he was going to play. He plays... Cher ¨Do you believe in life after love¨. Needless to say; with the little bit of booze that I had and the dancing I had done; I danced to the song like a fool. It was alot of fun though. It was fun to see how much progress I had made from the welcome to school party to the end of school party. Who knows what will happen at the next party.

I leave for Ouaga on Monday and Sapone on tuesday. In the next 48 hours I have to do my camp glow lessons, my laundry, and clean my house. We will see if i can get these things accomplished. I have to be prepared because I am getting a group of new volunteers who are going to come to my site and live with me for 4 days. This is uber exciting and I can't wait to see the newbies.

24 days til I am on a plane. Cant wait!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Trent gets Malaria... or just a bacteria infection.

So last time I updated you that I had been well and that I was excited about the Regional Peace Corps Medical Officer visiting me. I had the visit on thursday and it was amazing. I was able to talk to her and just converse about things going on in country and in the my life in general. She was alot of fun. But as she was leaving, she made the comment that my latrine is a long way from my house. I told her that it has never really been a problem. She said that it would be a problem if I had diarhea, I told her that that would probably never be a problem.

So that night, I am laying in bed and I start to feel weird. I get this cough and I realize its my "Trents running a fever" cough. So I take some Ibuprofen and just lay in bed. Well an hour goes by and I am still running a fever and I have muscle soreness, chills that lasted over an hour and a headache. All of these signs point to one thing. Malaria.

Now Malaria over here is not like what people think that it is in the states. Yes, Malaria is terrible and it kills tons of people every year, but they aren't under a PCMO's care. As soon as I started showing signs and I admitted that I missed a prophalaxis pill or two. They had me start taking my anti-malaria pills. Really, its a box of pills you take and it makes the malaria go away and your cured. This is why, I don't think of it as such a big deal, because there is a very easy cure. We are not in the 1800's.

So the next day, I start taking the malaria pills, but then a new thing starts. Diarhea. I won't go into the details, but I have lost 2 pairs of underwear this weekend, because I was not handwashing them. I literally was dead sprinting to the latrine. It was crazy. I never believed other volunteers when they told me about this stuff, but it is true!!! I say that the Regional PCMO jinxed me.

So I do a mif kit and get it sent to Ouaga and it turns out that I have a crazy strong bacterial infection that apparently has been going around the country. I know at least three other volunteers that have had it. So they are going to give me medicine and they tell me to take Cipro (Aka, the general kill all bacteria drug). So I go down the hill from my house where they have recently opened a pharmacy across from the hospital (smart Burkinabe) and ask for Cipro. No real prescription needed here. They give me the pills and when I ask how much they tell me 600 CFA. For those of you who don't know the CFA system, that is about $1.20. I thought she was saying 6 mille, which seemed more appropriate. Nope, 600CFA. So I got my meds and started taking them. I took two last night and and woke up feeling %120 better. I am still not 100 percent, but will be a day or two. I haven't had to run to the latrine in over 18 hours, so I will take the small victories.

I also will be getting on a plane and coming back to America in 5 weeks!!! I am amazed that it has come so close. I can't wait to see everyone!!! I start to even get busy in the next two weeks, so I am hoping that time flies even faster. I have been dreaming about the people that I get to see and the things that I will get to do, but I won't lie, like other volunteers, I mostly just keep thinking about the food. NACHO CHEESE, RANCH DRESSING, TACO BELL, Just to name a few. I have a goal of gaining 10lbs when I am in the states. This should not be hard. I'll try to stay skinny the second time I come home. This time, I am on vacation.

Also, I have been updated by a friend of her dates when she is coming to visit. She is staying a little over two weeks. I told her that I don't think I could keep her entertained here for that long, so we are going to go ahead and go into Ghana as well. It will be so much fun and I can't wait for her to see Burkina. On june 9th, I will have officially been in Burkina Faso for 1 year. That is my longest time away from home ever. Its hard on me, I can't imagine what it is doing to you.

Waiting anxiously,

Monday, May 30, 2011

Trent gets alot of stuff on his plate... YAY for working!!!

So last week I was in Ouaga for PSDN training. It was amazing training where we over tons of information. We went through scenarios that might happen to us and just general active listening skills. I think human beings should have to go through this training in general. There really is a huge difference between listening to someone and giving them advice and having them figure out things on thier own. I am now an official PSDN member and am sworn to secrecy. Let the calls with problems begin.

So in sad news; I found out that another person from my stage is leaving the country. This is sad for many reasons; but on the good side; I at least know that he is going to be happier in America or France depending on where he is actually going. So we are officially down to 17 volunteers in my SE stage. One funny thing is that everyone who had a special design on my wall (either a punctuation or a symbol) has left the country. I'm glad that I didn't put more symbols next to peoples names.

So one of the things that PSDN does is trainings. So that means that I will be going to Sapone and help do trainings with either a PCMO (Peace Corps Medical Officer) or just another PSDN member. So I am helping with the HIV and Sexual Assault discussions with the PCMO and am running the Diversity training with Alexandra who I love. I wanted the HIV and the Diversity sessions so I am glad that I am able to get both of them. Then afterwards I may be hosting a Demyst. Demyst is where the volunteers go to a volunteers site and see how they work at thier site. I could show off my lab and I need to think of ideas that I could do for the Agriculture volunteers. Baby plants?? Maybe they could see my lettuce field in Kaya. I also may do something with soap making... but first I need to learn how to make soap. I really hope that I get a demyst group. It would be fun to show off my site a little bit.

So inbetween demyst and training I also want to go see Tim and Becky in Boulsa again and steal Venem from Tim and have him show me how to use it. I spiked my proviseurs interest when I told him about the grading system and that the professors would not have to figure the moyennes. So I need to steal that and get it installed. I have a new PSDN meeting in early july and I have to put out a newsletter with Dani. Then I come home!!! After spending a month at home; I come back and do Camp Glow. Then September is filled with craziness. So I have a busy upcoming schedule. I have a week or two until all the craziness starts. I have a visit on Thursday from the regional medical officer. She is from Senegal. So it should be interesting. I have to clean my house and do some laundry.

Politically we have been doing great in the country. We had some strikes by students last week who were supporting a teachers strike; but that got solved in a few days with really no big problems. I think they only burned one thing in one village in the south. They blocked roads in Ouaga and that was only a minor annoyance. Right now I am kinda immune to anything but shooting though. 43 days until I get to see people. That and eat some american delicousness. Can't wait and hope everyone is doing well!!

Love and Peace!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Trent gets on PSDN... and has a case of bad karma.

So I am one to believe in karma. I believe that if you put good in the world, you get good back. This is generally true for me, however I have my case of the three bad things that seem to happen and follow me. So of course, I get good karma, but it must be evened out. Just think of it as debits and credits for all of you who have taken an accounting course. Like Erwin always told me, "Your debits have to equal your credits."

So I get a call and get told that I am on PSDN, which I earlier described as Peer Support and Diversity Network. This is a network that Peace Corps Volunteers can call when they have problems and we can help them talk it out. Well I found out that I got on it and I was ecstatic. I was concerned because sometimes I can be seen as a gossip. I have no clue how I could have this reputation. I think its genetic. Anyway so I was concerned about getting onto PSDN for that reason, oh and the fact that I'm crazy, but apparently not too crazy. Good news.

So Emma Prasher's sister is visiting and the girls want to go out drinking. I don't usually drink at site, but why not. So we go out to a club and then we go out to another club and we have fun. I drank some sachays of whiskey which were terrible, but ok if mixed with coke. Still better than beer. I also drank 2 liters of water, so I got tipsy. I returned to my house at about 1:30 in the AM to find that my keys will not open my door. The lock will not turn. I am not very happy and try in vain for about 20 minutes to open it. I of course wake up my neighbor who I don't like and is sleeping outside on a mattress and he tries, but it does not open. So he invites me to sleep at his house. I was not happy about this. I wanted a shower and my bed. I was also wearing ridiculous non breathable polyester burkina clothing. It was a hot night to say the least and I kept having to pee, but I got about a good 5 hours in.

I find a guy in the morning to let me into my house. He lives down the road and is the same guy who broke into my kitchenette for me. I go into my house and I at least have some new episodes of Glee to brighten my morning. I watch them and afterwards its time for shower number two and while showering the water gets turned off. I had just soaped myself. I luckily have a bidon (big plastic jug) of water in my shower for just this emergency. I move the bidon and what do I see, but a scorpion. Not a big one, just a little one about the size of my pinky. I rinse off and go out and find a sandal so I can kill the scorpion, but I can't find it. So I go to move the bidon back and it starts running toward me. I have now killed 3 scorpions in this country. Mwhahah.

So I have Emma Prashers USB key and I have to return it to her. So I go into ville (the city). As I am biking into ville a guy with a moto pulls out in front of me and I hit his front tire with my front tire. I fall off my bike and onto pavement because I had just arrived at the pavement part of the road. A quarter mile back and I would have just been dusty, but no. I have to get hit at the pavement part. So i scratch up my left hand, elbow, and foot and I hit my right upper shin on the bike. I was not happy, but I made sure not to curse out the Burkinabe who pulled out in front of me. I just didn't talk and got back on my bike and glared.

So I am hoping the scorpion and water running out counts as one of my bad things and therefore, I am ready for an amazing trip to Ouaga filled with fun. I had my day of bad karma, hopefully the good can come.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Trent thinks about the future...and goes to a festival!!

o while I have been on standfast and not been teaching, I have been thinking about my life and the things that I want to do with it. Here are my two Ideas.

1. I come back to the United States and go to grad school for Mental Health Counseling and become a mental health counselor. I like listening to peoples problems and the whole subject of counseling and psychology really appeal to me. I would be able to help youth with thier problems, drug addicts, alchoholics, GLBT issues, and so much more. I really think that this is what I should do with my life. Downfalls would be that I would have to go back to school, which while I was pretty good at school; I do not know how I would deal in a learning environment again. That and I have to find a grad school that takes the approach to counseling that I agree with, and I have to figure out how I am going to pay for the thing.

2. I come back to the United states and become a trophy wife. Now this is a position I think for which I am well qualified. I can cook, plan parties, join committees, clean the house, decorate the house, go shopping, and just wait until you see my bedroom skills... pillow fluffing and bed making I mean. Keep your mind out of the gutter. The only downsides are that I would have to workout and who knows if this means that I would have to raise a litter of brats. OH that and finding someone who is rich enough and deserving of my services.

ok, so as you can see; I have a wide variety of options for my future in July of 2012. But for the not so distant future, I applied to be on PSDN, which is the Peer Support and Diversity Network here in Burkina Faso. You listen to volunteers problems and help them make decisions. Almost like a counselor. This would be great to have on my resume and I think it would be a good experience to see if this is something that I really want to do. Kinda like, now I know that under no circumstances in my life would I really want to be a teacher. I leave that to my father, who has had 24 years in putting up with my ridiculousness and is thus a very patient man. I have not yet developed this patience or love of children. So if I get on PSDN then I have a training for that in May.

SO everything above this line of text was written the night before I got consolidated. It was written and I was just doing my final touches when the guns started. So yay!! Its a little late to be update, but I have changed the parts that have changed and deleted some stuff.

Now I want to talk about my life since I have been back to site. So I get back to site and I decide to go back to school on thursday. I open my lab and talk with students and am feeling good about my new system of opening the lab on certian days and having people come in and help them with stuff. This is a system I am much more comfortable with than teaching. Although, I have already had a teacher ask me to open the lab on saturday (aka today) so he could do some research on Encarta. I told him about lab hours and he complained worse than the students. I'm writing this at 945 on friday night. He wants me to be there at 8am If he does not show up, I will cut him. That would be very Burkinabe of him. So on thursday some of the professers ask me if I will play in a soccer game. It is students versus professers. I politely tell them that I am a fat American and I don't play football. They generally accepted this. I get told by my homologue, Natalie, that there is a traditional clothing contest tomorrow and that I need to dress up. I don't have any traditional Burkinabe clothes yet, so I go out to buy a boo boo. A boo boo is a long shirt that goes down to your knees, pants that match, and a matching hat. You where this with white leather shoes. If you can't wait to see it, just wait. I plan to wear it in the states to give a few speeches about Burkina Faso. It will be magical. I go out to buy my boo boo and I can't find where I can buy them at. So I keep looking and finally I find a shop, but the boo boos are ugly and I don't want them. So the guy says he will take me to a traditional fabric booth. I show up and there is one adult boo boo and it is nice, but it is black and white. It is just boring. I needed something flashier. Soooo.... the bring me a bright green boo boo with gold stiching and intricate embroidery. NOW WE ARE TALKING!~!! I buy it and then buy my leather shoes. All in all it ran me about 50 American dollars. I looked at it as an investment.

So I get a call from Natalie and she tells me to come to the lycee (school) because the game is starting. This is of course 1 hour late. I make my way there and they are just starting as I arrive. It is fun to watch the kids play soccer and more fun to watch the professers. The professers score the first goal about 30 mins into the game. Maybe less. Two minutes later, the referree calls the game and the professers win. The kids say it isn't fair. lol. The important thing is that the professers won. lol. I leave and go and visit my friends Biba and David a little ways from my house and show them my boo boo. They tell me how pretty it is and that I am a real Burkinabe now. They were loving it. Biba is definitely my mother in this country. She tries to feed me, but I tell her I need to cook because I have meat in my bag, so she makes me promise to come over on Sunday and spend some time with her and David. I tell her I will and I go home and get some rest for my big day the next day.

I get up and make it to the lycee by 9 and the contest and dancing is supposed to start at nine. I find out Emma P. is visiting and she comes and to see me and the traditional garb. The APE (parent leader, think of it kinda like the leader of the parents committee in the states; except they are really active and respected here) sees me and grabs my wrist and starts showing me around to everyone. The APE loves me and I like him. He is really nice and loves the fact that I am here. One thing though, he is really grabby with me and likes to show me off. Its like I am his white man prize. His school is better because they have a white teacher. Its funny, but literally today he would not let me go until I met with everyone he wanted me to meet with. So after that was done Emma came and about had a heart attack at how ridiculous I looked. I am hoping to get a picture of myself from someone. I had enough pictures of me taken today and the Burkinabe love to give you pictures they get printed of you. So we go over to sit down to start the ceremony at 1045. It was supposed to start at 9. Its that West African International Time... or WAIT. So during the ceremony they brought out all the professers that dressed up, we got to see dancers from 3 different lycees come and do traditional dances. It was alot of fun, but really hot. There was a prize competition for best dressed and in the male category... I got 3rd. Hear that!! I am a winner!!! or the second loser depending on how you look at it. But it was nice to be put into it. I had alot of kids stop me and ask for pictures. Then when everything was over I turn around and there was Biba!! She said she wanted to come see me in my boo boo and that I looked really pretty!! It is nice to have people here at site who care. I almost didn't want to come back because I didn't think anyone would care, but I have had literally 1/4 of the town ask me where I was and they missed me. It is a good feeling, maybe I am more integre than I thought...


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Trent is back in Kaya; and is ready for peace!!!

Ok, so I apologize profously for my lack of blogs. There are just alot of things going on that I was not allowed to talk about. But now, Trent spills the beans. Well for the most part. Ok so rewind two weeks ago. Two weeks ago, no one knows what is going on. There are people burning stuff (a certian group of people that I am not allowed to name) and breaking into places in Ouaga. So I am sitting peacefully in my home writing a blog entry to post when I hear fireworks outside. I go outside and look, but don't see any. Then I listen again and realize its gunfire. They (again, a certain group of people who I am not allowed to name) were shooting into the air in Kaya. For what reason, to show support for the group in Ouaga. So I call my site mate and make sure that she is hearing it as well. She says that she does and while I am on the phone with her, my stupid neighbor comes outside and starts shooting right outside my courtyard. So I hurry into my house. He quits and I hear him laughing. He is an idiot. He decides to shoot off another much bigger gun at about 1 in the morning. Right outside of my house in the courtyard. So needless to say, I did not get much sleep that night.

The next morning I am supposed to go to a village near me so that I can get out of Kaya. So I ride my bike with my site mate to the village only to be told to continue on to another site. They wanted us to keep riding my bike in 120 degree temps for about 30 miles. Needless to say, we said no and searched for a car to take us. I tried a taxi but he kept changing the price and I finally yelled and called him a faux type. So we wait and see a car that happens to be going to the site that I am supposed to be going to. Well it turns out that one of the guys in the car is the prince of that site and is going to be the new chief soon. So he buys us drinks along the way and talks with us. He was really nice. So we finally get to the site and relax. We wait until a couple more people arrive and we sit down to eat. We recieve a call that tells us that we need to continue traveling again tomorrow. So basically, in two days, I traveled across the country of Burkina on bike, in car, and finally by bus and bush taxi. We were on official consolidation. So while on consolidation in a site that I cannot name, many people took safaris because there are some there. I did not. For many reasons, one is that I do not like the zoo. All that a safari seems like to me is a moving zoo in heat and humidity. Second, literally animals can attack you. There are no gates or anything and elephants charge you and even the lucky groups that got to see the lion, doesn't mean they could not be mauled by them. I think we know my luck. I would come back having been scratched by a lion or worse our car flipped by an angry elephant.
So I just decided to stay at the hotel and play cards and watch movies.

We did have an easter celebration, but it was Burkinabe. In Burkina, easter is celebrated by going out and eating food, then drinking and dancing at a bar. I really think that this is something that I could bring back to the states. We played some American music and danced at a local bar with the people. It was alot of fun. We also ate Macaroni and cheese (vache qui ri not real cheese) and ate pork and chicken.

One of the wierdest things about being on consolidation was that we were in Gourmache speaking area. This is difficult because I am in a Moore speaking area. So if the people did not speak French, we had a problem. There were children who hung out at the hotel everyday and we started calling them Ewoks. We called them that, because we had not clue what they were saying, they were kinda squeaking when they talked, they all carried around sticks and would point them at as as they would speak, they would gather mangoes from the trees and give them to us, and they were just kinda funny to watch. That was one of the biggest entertainments for me on consolidation.

So the day after easter, everyone can go back to site... ok not everyone. All the major cities can't. So I decide to go and stay with Becky and Tim in Boulsa. They are somewhat near me and they have electricity. It was alot of fun staying with them. They cooked good meals including chicken pot pies and soups. They have an oven that they are gifting to me when they leave. I am very excited. I got to play with thier dog, surreal. She is funny and also very needy. She acts like an american dog. I went to work with Tim two days and got to see his computer lab and what he is doing at school. It gave me some ideas. Also Tim reformatted my computer now so that it works faster. He got rid of Vista and just put XP on it. My computer works so much faster. I also got to watch alot of newer shows that I haven't been able to catch up on. I haven't seen Glee since regionals, its kinda killing me.
During all of this, I also had some time to do some deep thinking. I, among others, were thinking of going home. I haven't been able to do much work and morale has really taken a hit in the country. I have decided to stay and now that I am back at site, I am actually much happier than I thought I would be. I was really exhausted and wanted to leave, but now I am a little less. I still think that I am going to have to a take a tiny vacation even before I come home, but I am back to wanting to stay again. I had about a week or two where that was not the situation. There have been alot of stressors here and I definitely have been pushed farther than I ever thought that I would, but here I am. I am surviving. I am living and with everything that happens to me, is just another story that I can share later in life.

So good news!!! I come home in 10 weeks. That is only 70 days away!!! I will officially been in this country 11 months on the 9th. Too bad my official one year as a volunteer isn't until August. I am now back in Kaya which means that internet is officially my friend and available everyday. Now I have a homework assignment for you!!!!


Write a 1 paragraph email about what has been going on in your life and email it to
I bleed my stories for you, you can at least drop me a line and tell me about your Americaland stories.

Also if you are in a Newcoming stage in May/June. BONNE CHANCE!!!! I can't wait to meet you!!! I am not working your stage, but I am sure that I will be at your swear in and you will hear stories about me. lol. Don't worry, we are fixing the country and getting it ready for you.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Trent plans a party and will never do it again... probably.

So I am not really allowed to talk about everything that has been going on here, so that is why I have not been blogging. I apologize to everyone. I want everyone to know that I am safe and sound. I have spent the last two weeks in Ouaga trying to plan this party that is the COS party. This is a party for all the Close of Service volunteers. Everyone in the country gets together to have a party and talk and have a night to show thier appreciation for all the volunteers who are ending thier service.

So I will give you a wrap up of my two weeks, without too much detail. But enough that you will get the idea...

So two weeks ago I come in to start getting things ready and unfortunately some events happened in Ouagadougou that prevented me from going out and getting things organized. So I did not get them accomplished. So on Friday I was told that I need to get a back up site near the bureau so in case anything happened we were close by. That and the old location was near a building of people that we did not want to be around at this time... So I found a back up location in a wooded area. It was good. Soooo...

The next monday, more stuff happened in other parts of the country. Then this continued on to tuesday. This is the point where we moved the party again and I was calling people in the country and making sure where people were and who was coming in and who was stuck at site. I also find out the location of my party has been moved again...

So at this point I find out that one of my girl friend's girlfriend. (sorry sounds wierd but can't use names. plttt) Anyway, the girlfriend snuck into the country and I went to the airport with my friend Suniata who had helped arrange the whole thing. We picked her up at the airport and took her to the hotel where her girlfriend was staying. My friend's face was priceless. She was confused, shocked, and excited. I thought she was going to faint. It was so sweet and romantic. I found out later that she asked her to marry her. SO they are officially engaged!!! Amazing.

So then it was back to party planning. I had thursday to get all the drinks ordered and I was supposed to be at warden training, but luckily they are going to be doing another warden training at a later date and I was told I could just go to that one. So I spent all day getting drinks organized, getting food organized, and making sure all the accomadations were met. I was running around like crazy, but it was worth it. I especially have to thank the Peace Corps Bureau for helping me get things organized. They were a vital part of making sure that this party happened and making sure the COSing volunteers had a party to remember. The Country Director and her assistant even organized for Floby, (Who is the most famous Burkinabe singer here... equivilent of Lady Gaga in the states) come to the party and sing a little bit for us. He sang a little bit and as he left he shook my hand. My students are going to be so jealous when I tell them.

The party went off mostly without a hitch. Everyone was in high spirits and some said that it was the best COS party they had been too. So I was glad that I could get it organized and everyone was happy with the results. However, I do not think that I will be organizing another one of those anytime soon. I have decided that I am glad to have a mother who knows how to event plan. If I do become a party planner, it is going to be of the skills she and my father have passed down to me. Mother in organization, and father out of making something amazing out of nothing. You should see what he can do with some pcv pipe and electricity. ;)

Ok, I am now back in Kaya, and I am glad to be back. I am hopefully going to have students come to my class tomorrow morning. Afterwards, I am going to go into town and tomorrow afternoon... LAUNDRY and CLEANING!! I have already swept and replaced my water filter and cleaned my kitchen, but now I need to take on my bedroom, which is more like a closet for me anymore sinch I sleep in my living room, but still. I need to clean clean. Two weeks away and the dust builds up. That and I have people coming and staying with me next week!!!

I will try to keep you updated and if you have any specific questions, you can email me,

Sorry for the discreetness, but I can tell you all about stuff that happened when I get home... Thats right, Im visiting home.. Its 14 weeks away!! Be excited. I am!!!

Love and miss you all!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Trent celebrates Saint Patricks day!!!

So on the Weds before saint patricks day; I decided to have a couple of Gin and Orange mix and watch some of my favorite episodes of Glee. It gave me a chance to catch up on what music I had been missing and see some old favorites. However; I also have been taking Benedryl so I could sleep at night. I wasn't thinking about it and took my Benedryl and after I took it I was drinking and thought; Uh oh. Probably should not have mixed those two. To quote Justin's mom on QAF; "Who do I look like; Judy Garland?" But I did it and I fell asleep and had the most knocked out sleep of my life. I woke up to Hailey calling me telling me at 8 that they were going to throw a ST. Patricks day party. I was like, gimme 2 hours. lol.

I met them at the Marche and am still slightly drowsy from the Benedryl and then they said the magic words. Trent we need you really to carry stuff and do stuff for us. Basically like my dad says; A strong back and a weak mind. That was my mindset for the day and I was more than happy not to think.

We get back to Grace's house and the work begins. Hailey gets to work on cutting vegetables; Grace is getting decorations; I am popping popcorn and Shrimp crackers. Grace not only gets burned by oil in the process; but also cuts her finger while cutting garlic. Poor thing. About this time we realize we should have invited people around us. The only one who could reach us was maybe Emma; so we call and invite her. She says; no; she can't make it. We are sad but understand. At this point Hailey starts cooking the food; and it smells and tastes amazing. Its a stew of Beef; Cabbage; Potatoes; Carrots; Onions; Garlic; Black Peppercorns. IT is amazing and semi-irish. We get the place decorated and I go get two other volunteers who are staying here for a little while and when I get back the party is ready. We had food; we had cold drinks; and all we had to do was wait for the people. The people did come! To our surprise; Emma came!!! She had found a late bus and made it into Kaya!! After that Burkinabe started to arrive. One of them was supposed to bring the beers; but of course he didn't get it set up so the beers didnt arrive until about 9ish. You know it isnt St. Patricks without beer. Even though; I don't really like beer.

We fed the Burkinabe the stew and they loved it. They drank beers; we played a milange of African and American music and danced. The funny thing is trying to explain St. Patricks Day. Someone asked about why we wear green and Hailey said it is because Snakes are greena and St. Patrick chased out all the snakes. None of us knew exactly why; so we let it go. It was alot of fun and we were able to share a St. Patricks Day party with Burkinabe and explain a little bit of cross culture. It was a great time and I can only hope my future partys can go as well.

Speaking of which; I still cannot go to Ouaga... So I am right now about 2 weeks away from my party... FANTASTIC!! Not freaking out yet; but next week; I see a mental breakdown occuring. We'll see!!

Also I had to take down a couple of blogs because of political commentary with stuff happening. If you missed it; just talk to someone who reads it. Or I can give you what you missed over the phone. lol.

NOW one more Shout out!!
One of my Best Friends Katie Fouts is tying the knot tomorrow to an amazing Man Zach Holt. I want to wish her the best wedding day that anyone could ever have and I know that they are going to be happy together for years and years to come.

Also; she cannot get knocked up til I come back. ;)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Trent plays softball, visits a village; and has ameoba friends!!

So I am having problems with my stomach when I eat, so I get brought into Ouagadougou so we can see what is going on. When I come in, I get blood drawn, poop in a cup, and get a sonogram. That's right, I get the goo on my stomach and have them move around and look at my organs, for the second time in nine months. Its like I'm having a baby, only babies of disease. Well it turns out that I have an amoeba. This amoeba decides to eat my stomach. So when i eat, it eats my stomach, or something of the sort. So I am now given medicine to kill the amoeba farm. I should be back to normal in about ten days. So excited. To be able to drink or eat without feeling like I am being stabbed. The little things that you look forward to in Burkina Faso...

I come back to site on tuesday night (aka 6pm) and I go to a restaurant and meet some of my favorites *Hailley, Grace, and Emma* and do not return to my house. I go to Grace's house and stay the night and watch the new Glee's and introduce them to Queer as folk, to which they are now addicted. We will probably watch them later. I stayed because the next day we took a trip to Nemtenga...

Nemtenga is a little village in BFBF (Think BFE but instead of the Egypt replace Burkina Faso). There was a grand fete there where I saw traditional masks and traditional dances and helped Mike from friends of Burkina. I played the game sharks and minnows from when I was in Gym class back in Elementary School. Having one shark attack the minnows, then they become sharks, until everyone gets tagged or you get down to about 10. I was playing with over fifty students and it was a little intimidating. I'm explaining the rules and telling them not to cheat in French it was alot of fun.

So also they brought out thier tribal masks to greet us. They look like big cousin IT's with faces. The masks are spirits and they have different personalities and they really are cool to watch dance. You can't touch the masks, but they will bow and touch your hand if you hold it up... and your white. lol. They speak, but its like a series of bird chirps and it is kinda creepy. one of the masks had a stick and it was swinging it at people and hitting them. So the children ran from it. It was really cool

Also I got to see a weaving guild and a ladies group get together and dance. When the ladies dance its a circle of women and usually one lady is singing loud and the others sing a following chorus. It is so cool because two women go out and they spin and then they booty bump each other and then another women enters as another one leaves and they just keep going. The ladies here carry babies on thier back in a pagne and I was about to die when one of the ladies went out spun and booty bumped with a baby on her back. The baby was like, I don't like this ride. lol. It was really fun and I got to see the women create some cloth that was really pretty!

They also had a big ceremony where they thanked us for coming and they gave us gifts. I recieved a hat that farmers wear, I think my grandpa taylor may have just recieved an African Hat he can work in. lol. Its a cone hat with a couple of African designed things on it. It is pretty cool and traditional, but I will never wear it. Most likely.

After the way therey we had to go back. I must mention that the trip to nemtenga was off road and at night took about 40 mins on the off road part. I don't get car sick, but by the end of the off roading expedition I was glad that we were on paved road again. I don't know how the drivers even found the place, it was like, take a left at that one rock... lol.

The next morning was the all important community meeting in Kaya. In order for us to recieve any funding for a project we need a 25% community contribution. So in order for us to recieve this, we were going to need the lodging in Kaya to be paid for. We didn't know where we were going to stay or what is going to happen. So we go to the meeting with some of the most important people in Kaya and good news, we recieved the lodging. So that is a relief off of Emma's mind and we can start getting our funding from SPA grants and also money from friends of Peace Corps people. More to come on that later...

So we are at Friday morning, this is the the day where I am able to start eating full meals almost without dieing. The pain has subsided and I am in Ouagadougou. It turns out that our softball game isn't until Friday, which works out great, because I need to meet with the owner of Pandora about the COS party. (Close of Service). The COS Party is for volunteers who are leaving Burkina and going back to America, because they are finishing their service. However, every volunteer in the country is invited. I volunteered to get the event organized, because I'm a glutton for punishment. I decided to have the party at Pandora, a bowling alley in Burkina Faso. I know a bowling alley, tres classy! So I needed to get the venue for the night. The starting price for the venue was 375000 CFA or 700 and some dollars. I talked it down to 225,000. or 475 dollars. Thats right, I haggle. I did agree to buy drinks from them, which is going to be a little more expensive, but I was just happy to have the place. And all I need is 7 more people to come outside of the people who are leaving the country to come and I have the venue paid off. That is amazing. It is a Viva ouaga Vegas Party and there is going to be bowling, dancing, music, drinking, Slot machines, pool, and some other games. Talk about an amazing time. If only I had a musical chairs with a twist game. Jk Mom, don't actually make and send one.


So saturday morning came around and it was time for me to play. Our first game we were using to try to see how we played together and was not that competetive, but everyone was surprised when I was telling people where to play and batting orders and base coaching. They were surprised that I even knew the rules. I never realized I grew up in a sports family until I came here and realized that just by knowing the rules to sports, I was ahead of the curve of even some of the guys. lol.

The first game we lost, but only by a few points. It was a good game, we just had a bad first inning. This followed us as a trait... we had a bad first inning in all three of our games that most of the time cost us the game. That and our spirits broke a little bit in the third game. But we were upset that we lost the second game because we were up against JICA. Now I know you have no clue what JICA is, but think of Peace Corps, but the Japanese version. So literally we got beat in Baseball by our Japanese counterparts. Although we technically go beat by some Nigerians and some americans as well. I liked what Dan Rooney said, you know we developed a country we they can beat us at our own sports. lol.

So I know it wouldn't be a blog entry without me having some injury, so we are playing in the third game and I am the catcher. I let a girl who was much faster and better than me take that position. I liked being the catcher. Surprise surprise... I am on home base covering it and the ball is right behind the third baseman and a guy rounds second and goes to third and rounds third. He should have stayed. The ball was right behind him. So I jump on the plate and get it thrown to me by the short stop. The ball hits my mit and he threw it really freaking hard so it comes up and hits my other hand and bounces out. I grab the ball and throw it to the pitcher before anyone else runs. I look down and my middle finger is swollen up twice the size it should be. I'm like, well shit. So I just decide to finish the inning, which didn't last long and luckily that was all I needed to finish. It turns out that blood had just made it swell or something, but I was bruised all down my finger and it was blue for about a day and half. I two other bruises on my arm and shoulder where I dove for a ball in the outfield. I stopped the balls, but didn't catch them. lol. When it comes to sports, I am glad that I only play them for fun and am not competive. Lets leave that for the Bingo, poker, and board games.

Needless to say we lost the tournament, but we came in 5th out of 6th. Who cares if everyone on the team that lost overall was probably under the age of 16... I don't.

So one of the weirdest things though about the tournament was that it was the International School of Ouagadougou, where they teach in English. The whole time that I was there, almost everyone was speaking English. The kids spoke English and had American mannerisms. I bought 4 snowcones to help the school prom at one concession stand. I had pizza at anothe concession stand. Then I bought sprites to help the Arts club go to Paris. It was like I was at a high school function. The most awkward thing was that, everyone was ignoring me. They acted like I was not important and didn't yell at me and didn't stare. I didn't realize how used to that I was until it wasn't happening. I'm used to being observed doing everything like I'm a celebrity, so it was kinda awkward going back. I think I am going to be one of those people, WHY AREN'T You Staring AT ME!!!.

Finally, last paragraph, I swear. I went to Chez Simone with a bunch of people including two volunteers who live in Benin. They were on vacation and on thier way back. Thier names were Eric and Elise and they were awesome. It was fun talking to them and just hanging out with everyone. I also got to get some good stuff in Ouaga, including new Modern Family, Glee, and Black Swan. If you get the chance to watch Black Swan, its a really cool film. If you like to see ballerinas going crazy. Oooh and Burlesque, but that is if you like musical films with Cher and Christina. Which I think we all know.. I do.

Love you all. and there are photos of me apparently on facebook playing softball.

One last p.s. I just found out that I am going to be getting a visitor in Dec-Jan time. One of my adventourous friends. More to come later.