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!!!

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