Monday, September 20, 2010

Sweat Sweat Dance!

28 Août 2010

We're affecting tomorrow morning! Whoa! This is it - I'm moving into my new home for the next two years and it's the beginning of a new job - a new adventure. I am scared. lonely. excited. intimidated. sad. happy. overjoyed. determined. motivated. intrigued. I am all of the above and I am things that can not be put down in words. I am a volunteer.

Let's talk about the fact that:

August 27th = SWEAR IN + 22ND BIRTHDAY

It was everything I had thought it would be and beyond. Swearing-in felt so good: surreal. I love everything about it - my complet, my friends, the guests, the speakers, the food, the drinks, the language, the pictures: everything! After the amazing ceremony we went to Chez Simone and off to a dance hall / bar and dance danced danced! Then hopped over to another dance hall. It felt so great to just let loose! It was a blast.

Major Lazer

August 25, 2010

I really don't get it. I don't want to deal with these mind games - I don't want to put effort into something that's not worth my time. I am being pursued and I don't want to be. I want to completely be myself and be by myself these next two years. I want to find how I am when I'm without a man. I want to know what my own thoughts are and why they are and what makes them so. I don't want to play these dating games. I don't want a quick fuck, nor to I want to be one. I could care less why one thinks it's difficult to pursue another in West Africa. I don't want to listen to your glorified stories with fabricated events and climaxes. I don't want to share puns and insinuate things that please you just so I don't hurt your feelings. I don't want to be the latest name in the gossip scene. I just want to be by myself. Me, myself and I. I don't need nor do I want a man... at least I don't want a new man right now. It's difficult enough to be in the country of upright people and not know how to be upright without a crutch. No thank you. I don't want to dodge any more kisses, pecks, hugs, rubs, or even sly comments. We're not in middle school - so please don't act like an adolescent. I don't need that. It's difficult enough when you don't even know where you stand with the people back home. Let me be. Let us be friends. No more. No Less. That's all I need.

ouch - that was harsh.

Bring me Back

Sunday, 22 Août 2010

"and there you are asleep against the window pane just like always - you said you like to hear the rain sometimes and all I can do is tell you the truth"

What is it about music that completely brings you back?

I have traveled back in time and am driving the Hyundai Elantra with Bean, Chris and Jimmy listening to this band full blast - driving out on dirt roads without a care in our minds. It's amazing.

Earlier I was with Adam - listening to him sing at the top of his lungs to Jamie Cullen while we're driving to Rosa's to get some tacos for his family in Midland. All I could do was laugh - that's it. I wish I could call him and talk to him about how much I miss him - Not just in a mushy gooshy way, but really, truly miss his company...when it was just me and him: Beak and Bird. I miss joking around with him, teasing him, him teasing me and just hanging out together.

I love music. I love the way it can completely transform your day: your experiences: your everything. Even your relationships. Sometimes I wonder if Adam's mom had it right when she told us about her dream. Maybe she isn't seeing the whole picture, not everyone in the dream is a clear image.

Until then - I'll live my life through this music that flows through my veins.

Chez Taillour & Hook-Ups

August 21, 2010

It's been a long time since the last entry due to the fact that this journal has been at the tailor's since Monday...maybe longer? Good news: My complet (a two piece outfit made of the same material, usually referring to a skirt and a top) is finished and I really love it! I am kind of thinking of getting the skirt taken in a little bit, but because I have to ride my bike I don't want it to be too tight. But it's exactly as I designed it! With a few minor changes and adjustments. I got a dress made too and I love that - it's wonderful and comfortable and easy!

Enough about dresses and getting clothes made (even though I love love love it) - let's talk about what's been going on socially. Everybody loves to gossip and predict who will hook-up, couple or what have you. Who's gonna hook-up is the biggest conversation starter and the most consistent answer would be that the senior PCVs all consider us (the mega stage) "fresh meat" and for the takin' - we'll see. I really don't understand how relationships even start here - nor do I understand the mentality of people meeting up and just "hooking up" which means, shield your eyes I'm about to be quite vulgar, fucking - I use that derogatory term because of the act which has no purpose nor emotion. I don't understand it and I don't really want to either.

I really was planning on being single for the next two years - I wasn't planning on having any kind of relations while here in Burkina Faso. I'm here for me and for the people of the country - not to hook-up, find my soul mate, or get frisky. I'll just watch the disaster from the sidelines.

Happy Birthday VAGABOND! You're 23 Years Young!

12 Août 2010

First day of Ramadan today & I'm hungry & thirsty already, and it's only 10:39 which means I've been awake for a mere 4 hours. Yay? Everyone tells me it's a deathwish to participate in Ramadan with my host family - but I think I can do it! And I'm not gonna push myself over the edge. If I can't do it, then I can't do it. I'm okay with that. But I want to try none-the-less.

@ 15:38 I ate gateaux.

I've decided that when I get to site, next year, I'll try to participate in Ramadan again...when I'm not under so much pressure & don't have to bike for 40 minutes one way to get to training. The other trainees were right...

Ramadan + Stage = Death

No thank you.

Push the Big Red Button

11 August 2010

I'm hot and sweaty. I'm still worried about where my period is. Thanks Africa - thank you for messing up my flow.

No babies.
Not now.
I've got too much life to live.
No babies.
No baby.

Period - you're late && I'm not appreciating your tardiness.

I'll be Living Where?

Monday, 09 Août 2010

Site announcements were today after all our sessions of language and whatnot! My new home for the next two years is a little village south of a provincial capital in the central southern region of Burkina Faso. *Due to Peace Corps policies, I don't think I'm allowed to post the name of my village - so I'll simply write about it!

The half page of paper I received today said I'll be living in a family compound but will have my own house. A house with two rooms and a small indoor shower area and private outdoor latrine. I'll have my own courtyard: which is great! I'll be getting a dog and cat ASAP.

I'm about 6K off the main road that runs from the capital to the south of the country. Ashley will be living in one of my neighboring villages. I think she'll be around 40K from me.

I'm the first volunteer at site! This is both really exciting and very intimidating all at the same time. I won't have to worry about filling someone else's shoes or picking up disappointed bits from a past volunteer. But I also will be doing a lot of meet and greets - it will all be my own responsibility to make ties and relations with the community members.

All in all I'm really excited - but very much saddened I'm not in the South WEST! I'm planning on making some trips down there though. I hear it's so beautiful down there - I'm a wee bit jealous.

A side note:

Just cleaned my first wound in Burkina Faso! My host brother has a gnarly looking wound on the bottom of his foot - been wrapped up in dirt and sweat for three days and now I hear him crying outside Martine and my room. We walk out and find the father burning the gash with some charcoal. I got some antiseptic and rinsed the gash and wrapped it up (with gloves of course) and made sure Martine told them that this wasn't going to make it heal...They still needed to go to the CSPS or the hospital tomorrow! I swear - that boy needs stitches! The wound seems pretty deep set. No good.

The weirdest thing is that this family is pretty well off. They have electricity, running water, cellphones and a computer - but they don't know when to go to the CSPS or how to dress a wound. That's essential - especially here in this country where everything is covered in dirt and pounds upon pounds of filth: bacteria galore! I really hope they follow through and go to the doctor tomorrow. Otherwise, Hamado is gonna be in a lot of pain for a long time and may get really sick from an infection.

Bring on the CSPS!
I'm ready.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Questions With Few Answers

07 Août 2010

What are we doing here? Tonight we all hung out and spent close to 2000 CFA. That's about $4 - What are we doing? We are thrown into a world unknown to all of us, a world where, if you wanted to, be someone completely new. You can be anyone. Yet, we're with these people from all over the country, people never met before - and now they're your life for the next two years. They are people I would probably never hang out with at home. But works.

A stranger at first and all of a sudden, he's your new confidant, she's your new sound board, these people are now your family, friends, lovers, enemies - this new language now flows freely from your mind to your tongue and past, between your teeth and out beyond into the vast world. What is it that we're saying? What is this new connection? Who is this person I'm trying to find? Who am I trying to be?

My memory flexes and fades. My dreams change and expand. Plans are ever-revolving. The person I am, is it who I want to be? And this person I'm evolving into, it is true to myself?

These questions come and they go - this time we're given to think & reflect are far and few in between the hustle of souls crashing into each other. Yet - reflection is vital to our survival. What would the world be without it? What would the people be like if we just walked around with no care but now or never? These faceless beings mindlessly wandering through a maze of white elephants and overgrown roots. The uncaring sun would beat it's powerful rays down onto a world that was just as unthoughtful.

I would not be here if I were unable to reflect - to think about what I've done. What I will do. How many connections with people would be and are. What I have become. How many relationships have changed.

I am a jar full of hopes, desires, mistakes, successes, anxieties, aspirations... I am a jar full of things people will search for but will not be able to see - yes, you may think I'm transparent - bt my core is hidden among my spirit.

I am an open book with hidden text.
I am a piano that only few can truly hear.
I am an undeveloped photograph soon to be overexposed.
I am the tune in your music.
I am the tickle in your throat.
I am unforgettable.
I am unforgiven.
I am a tattoo among the Roman Catholic.
I am the smoke that burns your eyes.
I am him and he is me.
I am...

"I'm feeling like I'm lost staring at the crowd. & I'm feeling like I'm not being loud enough to get you to see. You're smiling for pictures you're never gonna keep. & I'm on the only train - but you're on another one. It's clear to you & it's clear to me. It sounds a little condescending what I say it like that... I'm flying over me, but I'm landing on my feet."

"Mais, Elle Ne Comprend Pas Le Francais" Said my Mother

01 August 2010

Today was very frustrating. Frustrating is the perfect word. I was not sad. I was not mad. I was not overwhelmed.


Here we go: I woke up around 7:30 because my bladder was literally about to explode! So I wake up, get up and contemplate going back to sleep - but then I think about working out ... neither happened. Instead: I washed up, got dressed and ate some breakfast: oatmeal, powdered milk and sucre cubes + hot water. Just like home, eh? After all that, around 9:30, I wanted to go walk around before Martine woke up and before we went to go to the grand marche. So, let's start with the fact that we should always be with another person when we go out: "the buddy system" - but the small marche is just down the dirt road and I figure I would be fine if I walk down to the small marche and buy some tomatoes, cucumbers and bissapp for lunch. So I tell my mother "je vais aller au petit marche acheter des tomates, cocumbres, et bissapp." && She did not want to let me go! I tried to explain that I'd only be gone, tops, 30 minutes. She was still adement about not letting me go alone and kept asking me to wait for Martine - or wake her up. She continued to mention the fact that I didn't speak good French nor understand Moore.

At this point I'm so upset! I can't put into words what I was feeling - at least not in I couldn't explain that I was very capable of going to the marche and bargaining prices down and understanding what was being said to me. At this point in the conversation the daughter and son were both commenting on how Demi (the daughter) or Martine should accompany me to the marche. I give up and go inside and shed some tears because I'm so fed up with not being able to express myself. I'm unable to be independent - yet, I feel like I would be fine if I were on my own! But I can't be here due to my host family being too protective and not understanding that I need to learn somehow - and I learn best by DOING.

Martine wakes up maybe 10 minutes later and goes outside to use the latrine and our mother starts talking to her - and I hear my name and the conversation went into how I wanted to go to the marche by myself. I go outside because my mom said I don't understand French or Moore...


So I go out and in English I tell Martine that I'm completely frustrated and I don't want to be treated like a 12 year old. I want to be able to stumble and fall on my words and feel embarrassed because I can't understand - that's good for me. And I end up shedding more tears and notice my mother is crying too. Good god! I felt so bad!! I didn't want her to cry! I wasn't mad at her - I was just frustrated that I was being treated like a child. I don't want someone to speak for me - I don't want to rely on someone else's voice-box. I don't want to just expect things to be translated for me.


Anyway - we all apologized and we went to the grand marche. Bought food for dinner and went to the cyber! Got to talk to Ma & Pa!

Mom is so flippin' cute & dad is hilarious! I miss them and was so happy to see them both. They were both amazed by Skype. I'll admit - it's really neat-o-fa-heat-o. I saw my baby girl Mango too!!

Anyway - time for bed.
I'm less frustrated.
Still waiting on my period.
Period, oh period - where out thou?
Can you please show your pretty red face?


I Need Music

Monday, 26 July 2010

"I'm building myself a boat
It's gonna sail across the globe
until I find what I want.
It's gonna sail across these seas
until I find what I need.

And you can come along.
No we won't be gone for too long.
We'll be back, back before dawn."

"You may have seen the world, dear...but you don't know me"

"I want to be your appetite
I want to be your good dreams,
your bad dreams.
I can't help it - you're so, so beautiful."

"How you wake up every morning with a new bird in your head...
yea - well we all change in our ways - in our own pretty ways"

Piment in Burkina Faso

Sunday, 25 July 2010


I almost died today.
Died I tell you!!

Martine and I are making the family dinner tonight so we decided to make spaghetti - easy enough, right?
  • 1000 onions
  • 2 bundles of green onions / chives
  • 3 green bell pepper-like things
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 2 small purple eggplants
  • 1 itty bitty orange pepper / piment
So I'm cutting the onions and boy do they clear up the sinuses! I was sniffling and tearing up like never before...gosh. Onions. Diced. Done. Then I cut the green peppers. Diced. No Seeds. Done. Next I tackle the itty bitty pepper... I ask Martine if she knows how hot/spicy it is - she doesn't know - so I cut into it and try to smell it but can't smell a thing. So I cut it up like a spice and we're done preparing our veggies for dinner. I know not to touch my eyes because of the onion but I wipe my mouth and nose because of the onion making me shed some tears. Not 5 minutes later I'm RUNNING to splash water on my face!

My mouth and nose are

I'm in so much pain I run outside to the spicket and splash water on my face - which makes it worse because I'm just spreading it all over ... so I RUN back inside and Martine is all sorts of worried and is trying to tell "splash water in your eyes!! Splash water in your eyes!!" I get soap and RUN back outside and start washing my hands and face - by this time my father is walking over to me to see what all the ruckus is - and he just looks so confused like: why's this crazy, non-French speaking American freaking out? And I turn off the water and just look at him and he just laughs and says okay - and I have no idea how to tell him that my face is on fire from a damn pepper!! I splash more water on my face and get a little in my eyes - so I'm thinking I'm gonna go blind now! Oh gosh - it was terrible. I rushed back inside to wipe my face and Martine is still trying to tell me to splash water in my eyes! I finally just give up and give into the burn. And boy - does it hurt. Martine finally is like: it's not toxic - it's just food, it'll go away. hah. It's still BURNING! But it's subsided a lot.

And that's my death, near death, experience.
Moral of the story - NEVER touch your face or body with the same hand that cut or touched piment in this damned hot country.


Happy Birthday Devon! You're TWENTY-FIVE!!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

The past few days have been a little rough...we moved in with our host family: mom, dad, three daughters and a son. The family is Muslim - but the father only chooses to have one wife. His reasoning: one woman is enough trouble for him - you add more women and jealousy flourishes and problems arise. So true. The family is very nice - so accommodating and welcoming and non-intrusive! Which is all explained by the father having worked for the Peace Corps in the past. It definitely has an effect on how he treats us. The PC does a really good job at "preparing," "training" and "briefing" the host families and employees here about Americans and what we value: independence, time, individuality, space, etc. And our host family is doing a wonderful job at respecting those things.

So why have the past few days been a little rough? The only thing frustrating is language - I know. I know it will come. I'm just being very impatient! It's so frustrating to not be able to communicate with my host family - and it's really embarrassing and insulting when my roommate is having in-depth conversations in French (her first language) with our host father and then I struggle to talk about my cats we had (when I was younger) back home giving birth all at the same time. I guess I just have to laugh at myself. I'm also trying to learn more words in Moore...problem with that: my terrible, terrible memory. It's ridiculous and so...what's the word?...frustrating! It happens with both French and Moore. gah.

Ca vas aller
Ca vas aller
It will go
It will go
It Will Go

It know it will - but it's also so intimidating.

On another note - I got a new battery for my phone and was able to talk to my mom today for the first time since she's been back from visiting Bean in Kyrgyzstan! I asked her all about it: she said it was weird for her to be back in the States! Just after 2 weeks she felt that way - imagine 2 years! But she also said it was really hard - she couldn't communicate with anyone and the living quarters seems like the same as what I've got here - concrete houses, bucket baths, latrines (maybe) I don't know if Bean has electricity or not...I know she doesn't have running water. Mom said her time was a little fun, but "fun" was going to a place with running water. ha. Sounds like here.

I really can sympathize with Bean and the language - I feel her anxiety and frustration - she was learning the local language and BAM she was yanked out of there and is now put in a situation where she has to learn a whole new language! She practically had to start all over again. I can only imagine how frustrating that would be. Good luck Beannie! and I really do hope she does good things at her new site!

I worked out today
and it felt G R E A T!
I am so weak though!!! Not great. I hope to start a routine and continually work out - I don't want to just lose weight here and lose all my muscle - I'd rather gain some muscle! Cha!

Break a Sweat!
Pump that Iron!
Beak would be Proud!!

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Thursday, 22 July 2010

"The world where shadow is shadow and light is light, yin is yin and yang is yang, I'm me and he's him.

'I am me and
He is him:
Autumn Eve'

But you don't belong to that world. The world you belong to is above or below that.

The point is, not to resist the flow. You go up when you're supposed to go up and down when you're supposed to go down. When you're supposed to go up, find the highest tower and climb to the top. When you're supposed to go down, find the deepest well and go down to the bottom. When there's no flow, stay still.

'I am he and
He is me:
Spring Nightfall.'

Abandon the Self: and There You Are

Breath: 1, 2, 3...

Wednesday, 21 Juillet 2010


Woke up fairly late
in a fairly okay mood
on this fairly cloudy day.

I think this will describe how my day will go.
I'm okay.

I don't think it helps that my roomie is in a crappy / upset mood - but others, I know, shouldn't effect my mood. Yet, it's difficult to maintain this smile and perky attitude when people around me are grumpy... these peers of mine influence my wellbeing.

We're having a session on maintaing a strong mental health this morning.
Maybe I should listen?

And Let's Climb Invisible Stairs Together...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We've been in Koudougou for about three days now and it's been quite a "re-adjustment" period. We're housed in a room of 4, latrines, outdoor showers, no A/C and are - as always - with the same people all the time. It has gotten a little overwhelming. I see all the same faces every day. Health people 24/7: which isn't terrible, but isn't good. I feel like my English is getting worse as I study French and am around people who speak in broken sentences.

Phew - enough complaining.

The other night we all went out to get a beer and this little deaf boy whom I befriended found me again! Mon Ami!! It's so difficult to see people, but children especially, with handicaps in this country. Other children would attempt to talk to him - but a lot of them seemed to only mock him. Even the other trainees were making fun of him - shame on them. It didn't make any sense that people are here to help - and yet - they don't have the compassion for the people who need help; not even help, but just someone to make them smile. I got in a conversation, small talk really, with another trainee and he had the audacity to tell me I should be holding a rosary and go pray. What? No thank you. I don't need a god to be compassionate nor do I need one to be "well behaved" - which is what he was inferring. It really made me mad. It just really irks me when I find characteristics of people who are here to help that completely contradict what they should feel or do or act. Ridiculous.

Anyway - I'm getting more and more ready to just be living and working. I want so badly to speak the language: French and the local language - whatever that may be. I'm ready to be in village. I'm excited to know where I'll be living for the next 24 months. It's been just a month since I left good ol' Texas - and I've learned so much. Tonight, for instance, I was bombarded by a large group of vendors and random Burkinabe. It was a little scary - the ladies were demanding I buy avocados, bananas and citrus - but all I wanted was some apples. I told a lady and she RAN to get them for me and then shoved them in my face. 1500 franc CFA for three apples. I said no way! Trop cher! And got her down to 900 franc CFA - which is still a little much...should be able to buy 5 for a mil (1000) CFA. While I was bargaining with her there were men digging at my bike tool bag and I literally had to grab his hand and shove it away. Then a lady was grabbing at my nalgene. Geez - it was ridiculous. Frustrating. I went to leave and a lady got on my bike because I didn't buy her avocados! I was pissed. They were just trying to take advantage of this nessara!

bagh. Ca va aller.

Aside from all that minute drama I've decided I miss being affectionate with another being.
I should probably get over this...

Chuck Norris & Egg Sandwiches

Dimanche, 18 Julliet 2010

First night in Koudougou! Stage has been moved to this new city where we'll finish off our last month or so of training. We're in a very quaint hotel pretty close to the center of the city. And when I say quaint I really mean it looks like a prison inside the small rooms for four. I'm housed with three other girls for a couple of days until we move into our host family: Figgy, Althea and Roar. We have no A/C - but we've got a fan, electricity and running water. No toilets... but I like this easing back into the rural setting.

Highlight of the night: a Chuck Norris film dubbed in French and only costs 50 franc CFA! After a good, cold Brakina and a deceivingly delicious omelet sandwich...we crossed the dusty path to a shack with a small TV, cement mounds in the earth for benches and very loud speakers. We watched an episode of FRIENDS (also in French) and then came the finale! Chuck Norris! It was hilarious. I don't know the title of the movie - but it was of the little boy who was taking karate and was dreaming he was fighting with Chuck Norris...yada yada. It was really great. It was especially funny when I realized I had seen the movie before. :]

We start training again tomorrow morning.