Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wednesday 16 May

It is 1:21 am and I cannot sleep even though today was an extremely busy day with girls' club, teaching, and market day.

I wonder if the elderly in Africa have trouble sleeping like my grandmothers.

Is my insomnia due to drugs, the infamous Larime, the excitement of organizing activities for a girls' club, or the excitement of Damon's visit?

Rain and Bugs

The heavy rain upon my aluminium roof hurts my ears.
It is a good thing I brought ear plugs.

The rain knocked down my straw roofed and straw enclosed patio where I sleep every night. Thankfully I was already inside my sturdy house. That would have hurt. Straw is heavier than you would think.

When the rain is pouring, know what I need?
a chamber pot

You know what I like about Africa?

You can leave a dead roach on the floor of your house and the next morning it will be gone.

My Kitchen

consists of a 2-tier table supporting a 3 burner table top gas stove with its tank on the floor. I have one frying pan and two pots. I have 1 sharp knife, a big stirring spoon, 7 spoons, no forks, and one pair of chopsticks. I have two aluminium plates and 3 plastic cups. I have a plastic basin to wash my dishes in. I have slat, oil, and beef bouillon cubes.

And you know what the great thing is?

My village has a market day every three days, so if I need a bowl or a fork I can just walk 2 football fields and buy whatever I desire.

May 13: Starting at 6 am

I do my laundry every Sunday

today the wind was strong
a quick dry

my clothes like kites in the sky
snap like the sound of a whip

Ideas for Village Projects

A co-worker has approached me with two ides for projects:

  1. to help start a program for families who take in orphans and need assistance
  2. to help with cultural preservation, the traditional masks of the village.

I have a few ideas, but would appreciate your suggestions, your expertise, and your experience.

At the school, I'm trying to start a Girl's Club. Empowering women and tackling women's issues must have an impact on poverty right?

The Poverty Question

What can I do? To what point do I give such that I myself do not fall to a level of poverty? What must I give up to help the poor: meat, sushi, movies, coffee, cheese?

Seeing people especially kids in need really hits me and I feel the urge to give, but if I started handing out 5000 CFA ($10) bills does that help anyone? It provides a temporary solution to my guilt of being privileged and a temporary solution to a person's hunger. After the money is used up though hunger creeps in again.

How can I have an impact on poverty? Giving money? Teaching skills that help people make money? Putting money into the local economy by spending? Planting a Moringa tree? What can I do to put a dent into poverty and hunger?

My 10th graders say, "We need jobs."

May 12

I am living in a world of miniature dinosaurs.

Peaceful living

Thursday 10 May

As I was cleaning the glass of my kerosene lamp, I thought to myself, "Wow. Every day you are living at a campsite: a pit latrine, a tent, light from a flame, and it's become normal, not weird or uncomfortable."

Life here has a simplicity that makes it a desirable and a wonderful life for me. Even though I'm covered with mosquito bites and rashes from the heat, I feel a sense of peace I rarely felt in the US. The burden of responsibility of having to make money to live comfortably was a dark shadow that made it heard for me to enjoy time. Here my shelter, food, health care, and spending money are all provided for me in exchange for teaching and cultural exchange.

Everything I need is here. I don't have to worry about how I'm going to make ends meet. Here I can enjoy. Even bouts of sadness, I seem to experience differently here. Au village, it is so much easier to be sad, to find peace with the sadness, and to watch it pass. In the US for some reason I held onto my misery for longer than I should.

I am provided for here. I feel safe. In this safety I don't worry. I exist with a sense of contentment, and if I do worry it doesn't linger. How strange that in the endless quiet au village, thoughts and worry don't spin in my unoccupied head.

Things in the night

Last night I lay beneath my mosquito net writing a letter when all of a sudden a huge insect went scurrying all over.

A scorpion?

I turned out the lamp and breathed in the wish that it wouldn't find its way into my protected space that has ample openings for it to discover.

Today I learned it was a harmless palm sized insect, called a transporter.

It's package?


Tuesday May 8

My live au Burkina revolves around work. It's a nice work schedule 2-5 hrs in the morning and 2 hrs in the evening, 3-4 of those hours are with students, the rest are spent grading or preparing for the next day's lesson. Work is not frustrating. It can be tiring with all of the grading. Thankfully math is easy to grade.

The rest of the time is spent eating and napping in the shade. Do I get bored? No way!

The most challenging part of the day is having visitors all of the time, visitors who lie on a prayer mat on the ground just napping. I let their presence frustrate me, allow them to disrupt my peace and my activities at home. I need to learn to just let their company be a comforting presence instead of an irritating chirp of a cricket.