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.