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 :)