Monday, January 31, 2011

Trent shoves more meat in his mouth than he can afford.

So Fridays are my hard days. I have my first class at 7 for and hour, then I have a class at 10 for two hours and a class at 3 for 3 hours. Needless to say, by the end of the day I am tired. I have to try and get concepts and translate them in French, not an easy task to do. It is especially not helpful when you are at the poor end of things at the end of the month and you find out you haven't recieved your living allowance. It won't come until monday or god forbid Tuesday. I really have a list of things that I need to buy and even a few bills that I would like to pay. I was trying to figure out how I got into such a tight predicament and I figured it out. Cokes and meat.

Now when I say this, take all of it with a grain of salt. The Burkinabe here live off of what I make a month for thier whole family and for whoever else they give thier money. They may give some to thier family in village or to thier family in another city, you never know. Now my predicament is that I spend to much on food, surprise, surprise!!

one Coke costs 500 CFA or, for you doing the math at home, 1 dollar.
One sachay of meat costs 500 CFA as well.

If I buy both everyday in a month, this is 30,000 CFA!!!

I am spending 30,000 on food, however the downside is that I can argue the cost.
Cokes and meat make me happy, when I am happy I am a better volunteer, if I don't get meat and cokes, then I won't be happy, thus I will be a sucky volunteer. Makes sense doesn't it?
I am thinking that I am going to try to be better about what I eat in February. I am going to try to eat more Achieke- A substance made of a maniake(sp?) that is shaved and cooked and then they add a little vegetables and some oil. It is really good and it is only 200-300CFA. That would be a reduction in my food costs for the day. Right Now by the time I get done making a meal here, it costs me usually a little over a 1000 CFA. This is both the joy and the downfall of living in a city.

When you live in a village, you don't have access to cokes. You don't have access to canned ravioli. You eat usually with your neighbors and you maybe buy Benga*(beans) or you rice with sauce or if your really unfoturnate, you get to eat Toe. So you don't buy as much stuff. You also dont pay for electricity, and you do pay to get your water delivered to your house usually. So needless to say, your living expenses are usually quite low and this makes your living allowance almost more of a travel allowance. You really only use the money when you leave your site and go to your region capital or when you go into Ouagadougou and Bobo.

So because I live in a regional capital and just the otherday I found Snickers bars in a refrigerator at one of my Alimentations, I spend my money like crazy, because there is always something to buy. I have a daily marche with all kinds of Pagnes and leather goods and I have alimentations and Boutiques with all kinds of items for sale. I also have been buying small gifts that I am planning on bringing back to the states and give to people, so that is about 5000-10000 CFA a month.

So next month, I am going to chop down my cokes and meat purchases. I am going to figure out how to not eat so much, and I am going to see if I can save 20,000 mille a month, so I have money when I come home. Will I succeed? Probably not. But its worth a shot.

Also I must mention that cold season is ending, Hot Season (April and May) is just around the corner. Already the temperatures have been going up.

Also, I was riding my bike home after I picked up a couple of sachays of Ice and my bag broke so I tried to stop my bike and when I did I hit the front brake too hard and I had my feet down, so the back of the bike flipped up and hit me in the back and knocked me over in a sandpile. Good times!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Trent tries to focus... oh look a sheep!

Do you know how to tell the difference between a goat and a sheep? I do. A goats tail goes up and the sheeps tail goes down. I know wha your thinking; sheep are black with thick white wool. This is false. I mean some sheep are that way but definitely not all of them. I awakened on tuesday morning and I heard goats. This is not a problem; I hear goats all the time. Then I hear a pig. Now the thing about pigs is that they are quiet; unless they are squealling. This pig was not squealing. I leave my house to realize my gendarmarie neighbors have trapped 2 goats and a pig in our courtyard. That or they pushed the door open and then got trapped. So I wrap a pagne around my waist and open the door and the goats run to behing my house with the pig. So I run around the other side of the house and hiss at the goats and pigs and they leave my courtyard. It was then that I realized; I never thought that chasing goats and pigs out of my yard was going to be a problem in my life. Life; huh?

So I am trying to get focused. I have a Close of Service party to plan; I have to set up a new post box; I have to start secondary projects; I am tutoring in French; and also I am trying to figure out whatto do with my life in general. I was talking to some of my friends about this very subject. I thought that in the Peace Corps; I would get some big new vision for my life. So far this has not been obtained. I was talking to some people who were leaving the country and they said; "oh yeah; they should put that as a warning in your Peace corps service. Warning: You will not find some new path in your life after your service."

So I am going to have to really be focusing on my life; that or just do a 3rd year in the Peace Corps. lol. But I have tons of work to do and I really need to buckle down on my French. When I leave here; I will have tons of experience and will speak ok french. That has got to count for something. Add that to the experience of my 13 other jobs and I am very well rounded. I am learning that my best skills are organizing people and events. I may talk my mom into opening a party planning service with me. lol. JK. Atlhough thatwould work and then I could just get my brother to make whatever artsy I need for free. LOL. Anyway back to Africa...

I played a game with my students the other day where I asked them questions and had them type the response. The winner got Gateau; which translates to cake; but it is nothing like cake. It is literally Fried dough and I am not a fan. The kids actually knew alot of the answers to the questions; but thier spelling was questionable. jorge bouche= George Bush. It was funny. I had fun with the kids and then today they come into my classroom and they were pushing and roughhousing so I made them marche in a line outside and stand in the sun for five minutes and then had them walk into the class. These kid are ages 16-23 probably and they act like early teens. Its semi ridiculous; but fun to watch.

Well thats all for today. Questions Comments?

Also my camera quit orking; but am trying to fix it. Desolé or sorry!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Trents almost falls into a latrine and recieves a baby.

So this past weekend I had everyone from the Central North region of Burkina Faso in Kaya for a meeting about a girls and boys camp in Kaya. Afterwards, I had people at my house for a small soiree with music and drinks. It was alot of fun and I got to have everyone from out little region together. The best part was that Emma P. was basically doing all the work and all I had to do was listen to the meetings. So not much work for me. It was also the first time that Kristin and Diana have visited Kaya and got to see all that my lovely city had to offer. Especially the leather! I was discounting merchandise for Diana at the marché; it was fun. More to come on Camp Glow; I may even need your help in the states. ;)

So last week; I went to the vegetable marche to buy some peanut butter and while there I was talking to the ladies and speaking a little Mooré (local language of Burkina Faso). While talking to the ladies; one of them tried to have me hold her baby and I told her no thanks, afterwards while listening again; I realized she was trying to give me her baby. It is a common joke here; kinda. When the ladies offer you thier babies; you have to be careful not to seem to excited or they may actually give it to you. Mostly its a joke though; but I definitely didn`t need to be adding a baby into my Burkina Equation.

So another latrine story, I was going to use the latrine and I had to poop, so I was squatting over the latrine. While squatting over said latrine; a lizard runs out of the latrine and over my foot which I try to shake off and have to catch my balance or my butt is going right in the latrine hole. I luckily catch my balance and kept myself from touching the yucky latrine hole. I am still not happy with lizards though. I will forgive them in time, but right now; the war is on.

Miss everyone and hope life is going well.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Trent gets back into the swing of things

So Monday came around and with it came the new work year for me. I started back teaching and the first day was semi-eventful. I figured out that my building doesn't have enough power to run all of the computers in it. This is what happened. I walk into my lab and the students are using the computers and I notice random computers start turning off. So I start chasing the power outages and then I start unplugging computer and replugging in computers and now have it so that all the computers on the outside of the class work, but six of the computers in the middle of the room don't work. If I plug in any of them, then I start chasing power outages again. I am figuring this out and yelling at myself and the computers and the whole time the students are looking at the crazy nasarra teacher walking around the room talking to himself and randomly turning computers on and off. One of the kids unplugged a computer while I was working on stuff and I told him that I was going to hit him if he tried to touch another one. Not that I actually would, well at least hard.

So i finally figure out my problem and have just let the kids play on the computer for about an hour and I start to get up and review. I stand up and realize the chief of the class is gone. So I ask where he and a few others have gone and the other students tell me they went to go play futbol (soccer). So I was like, ok. A kid starts to walk in the room and I asked where he went and I forget what he said, but at this point I had my water bottle in my hand and I asked him what was happening in the road behind him. Burkinabe children are easily fooled and when he turned around I poured water down his back. Other students went to take a drink of water from the pump and when they came back, they decided to leave. So I threw alot of the water from my water bottle on him. I also threw some chalk at some kids and then I designed an outline of a kid who didn't listen to me 3 times and put a speech bubble around him that said " I did not listen because I'm stupid." However, I didn't know how to spell stupid in French, so I actually looked a little stupid. Karma!

Lastly I asked one of the girls if she was going to go play soccer and the guy next to her said that she doesn't play soccer she is just a wife. This pissed me off, so I told him that I was going to tell an american girl and she would beat him up, but then I slapped him in the back of the head. Later in class I had the class type the phrase, I want... and had them finish the phrase. That girl wrote that she would like to be a doctor. It made me really happy to see that. All the guys in the class wrote was that they wanted girls. *rolls eyes* I hate teenage boys. One guy was original and said that he wanted to get the moon so he could give it to his girl. That was semi-sweet at least. Although it seemed very old fashioned. Who can tell me the movie because I don't know it. What do you want... do you want the moon? I'll go get it for you.. or something. Its and old black and white movie.

I have pretty much decided at this point that teaching is not going to be in my future. I have trouble with the friend and disciplinarian line. Also, I am a bit of a sadist in this country. I saw a little brother being annoying to his bigger brother of like 6 years and the big brother told him to go home and like kicked him really hard in the butt and I laughed. The younger kid started crying, and that made me laugh a little bit more. One thing that I also must mention here is that Burkinabe children cry over the stupidest things. Its not like real pain or anything, its more like when they feel like they have been looked over or wronged. Its really annoying. I like the old addage, I will give you something to cry about. That and the Burkinabe children also like to throw stuff at each other and like literally beat each other and they don't cry at all. Emotionally weak and physically strong, who knew?

Sorry I feel like this one is kinda a rambling entry, but fun. Any questions for me?

I want to give a shout out to miss Angela Lockridge, I hope things are going great at the bank and you try to keep the girls in line for me. Especially that Carol. ;)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Trent makes it to 2011; it is either a miracle or a mistake.

So it is official, I have made it to 2011. Don`t worry; when you live life like me and am basically a catastrophe; you are always amazed when new years rolls around and you aren`t dead yet. So to all you people whosaid I wouldn`t make it to 25, you only have 5 months before you have to pay up. I actually talked to a girl here named Rasheeda who is a fellow volunteer and she was giving people at what age in there lives they should just end it all and she got to me and said; "he should have been dead 3 years ago; he is living on borrowed time." I thought this seemed somewhat accurate. lol! The more reason that I try to make each day special.

So after christmas I decided to go to Fada and spend christmas with the Fada boys and Ebben. Itwas alot of fun. I got to hang outwith Joey from my stage; Scott and Luis who are from the new new stage and Ebben who is from GEE in my stage. Anywho we all just hung around and talked and had fun. nothing too eventful. I did get to see the largest Beef market in West Africa there; and I ate some of thebest fried chicken that I have had. I ate tons and tons. So then I came back through Ouaga and decided to hang out at the transit house for a night, it was fun to see some people.

I am now back at site and am hoping to maybe stay at site until FESPACO(film festival) in February. We will see if I can do this. I am not feeling uber motivated to do this; but think it would be pretty cool.

Also when I was in Fada I bought a pagne (clothing material) that was gold leaf with big flowers that was really cool. I bought one for me and one for Grace. Grace bought a pagne that is a Chanel pagne and is awesome looking for me and her, so we will have matching pagnes and even more people will think that she is my wife.

New Years Resolutions
1)Change my attitude of hating French and really try to learn it.
2)Try to calm my life down a bit.
3)Try to not spend so much money at site and save something for trips and gifts.
4)Learn Moore better
5) Try to come up with some sort of plan for my life after Peace Corps.

Any suggestions for things to be added to the list?
I could use some probably.
Love Trent

P.S. In a news site that I kinda keep up with here... Vinny Guadagnino of Jersey shore is coming out with a clothing line that also gives donations to help stop teen bullying. It almost makes me want to watch the show; because I have never even seen 1 episode. Just something that shocked me and made think "See good things pop out of the most unexpected places."