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!!!