Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Paint the City Red

3 Juillet 2010

First day in the city: Ouagadougou.

Posse: Austin, Nick, Nate, Kristen, Marina, Ashley, Josh and Brianna.

So – we got to walk around the “inner-city” due to the fact that Austin had already visited once before when he was traveling/working/volunteering in Togo. The city is actually more of a city now that we’ve walked around in it. My first impression was a little off because we really were outside of the “inner-city” when we were at the Dragon. Now that I’ve seen the city, I don’t like it. It's dirty. It's crowded. It's overpriced. It's like any other city - except brown from dust and dirt... and all the motos, lack of bathrooms, cars and cyclists. It really rubbed me the wrong way - and I'd much rather be in village than in the capital of the country. To justify the overpriced aspect: I ended up spending just shy of 5000 F CFA today which BLOWS, but I guess it was worth it? I've got some pineapple juice and a bar of soap to show for it. Wonderful.

We took a taxi out - and since I've begun buying things, I've noticed I'm a really great target for getting screwed over and paying way too dang much because of my accent and lack of a large vocabulary.... so back to the taxi - we get in the taxi and pay 300 CFA per person, when we should've paid 100 CFA per person because it's 5 per taxi and the trip was very very short. Yet, of course, because we're new to the area, having a different color skin and not speaking the language fluently nor the local language at all...we tend to pay more than necessary. Wohoo! The taxi was cramped, stripped and all the gadgets were not functioning - Really safe, ya? But we made it! As we begin to walk - people start to flock towards us!! Ohh - rich Americans!! Children came up to us to beg for good - which made me feel terrible, but I couldn't give one person something and not the other - and so you just have to say no. Men were pushing earrings in my face. Women were forcing peanuts down my throat! Panyas were being thrown and wrapped around me!! Okay - I exaggerate...but it was pretty bad.

So we ate lunch - me and Ashley shared a pizza for 2000 CFA each. That's really cher! Never will I eat out like that again. Finished lunch and all I wanted to do was go back to the hotel because I knew the bags would be back from Ouahigouya - but instead, we watched Argentina v. Germany and ate mango sorbet!! - I won't complain - it was amazing. The best thing I've had in my month of being in Africa. It was great. Then we were off to the supermarche - or rather the Marina Market - it was pretty much a French super market/grocery store - that's where I bought the pineapple juice and a bar of soap for my laundry. Then, of course, we were harassed by people on the street - caught a cab - due to moi! I used the great hand gesture of saying "slowdown, I need to hail a taxi!" gesture. And we paid 200 CFA this time. But, of course, the taxi driver didn't understand where we wanted to go, or what we were saying... so I called a PCVF and got him to tell the driver where we wanted to go - which is exactly what I told him earlier - and the driver said, ca va! and we were on our way. pish posh!

Took a shower - almost drowned in the never-draining shower at the hotel - but was thoroughly refreshed!! Went through my bags. Contemplated eating dinner. Played online - chatted with friends. It still feels a little weird here. It almost feels like a "trip" and is more temporary than I thought. I guess it really hasn't sunk in that this truly is my life for the next two years. I'll really be 24 when I get back to the States - if I go back. I really will be living with no electricity, no running water, no toilets, no shower... This is equivalent to: an associates degree. A masters program. A portfolio booster. 3 babies.

All of the above.
I'm here
I'm suck
No man
New friends
New affairs
New life




  1. You can not have three babies in that amount of time...good lord, your uterus would erupt!!!..Your story was great, and I can so relate to the crowds,dirt, taxis, and being "ripped off"....It'll get better, I'm sure...

  2. Goodness Lauren! You certainly are getting an education of a lifetime. Reading your experiences makes me really appreciate home and yet I feel somewhat guilty for all of the comforts and possessions that surround me. You will be richer for these experiences (good & bad). It will get better! Love you...Valerie

  3. Lauren- I loved checking in with your blog every now and then. Sounds really interesting, pics??????? Anyways, when I moved to Israel, I didn't even consider it "moving" I was just coming here to learn Hebrew for 5 months and I have been here now for almost 2 years and the time has FLOWN by. It's a completely different life- there are positives and negatives- of course, but the being cultured is priceless and I am so thankful that I am living here. Just remember: you can always go home.

    have fun!!!