Apr 18, 2010

New This, New That

These past few weeks, it's been all about the new. New things, new people, new experiences...

New Maire
I mentioned last month that the Maire of Pobe-Mengao passed away. The village elected a new Maire and to the great excitement of many, Konfe Inoussa was chosen. Inoussa is a good, hardworking and honest man who is much loved in the village and is also my good friend and neighbor. After he was elected it seemed all of Pobe was cheering and dancing, firing off rifles (blanks, thankfully) in celebration. People are saying with Inoussa as our new Maire, good things will come to Pobe.

Pobe's new Maire

Potato Fete in Titato
While I go to Titao to visit the Roses (married PCV couple) quite frequently, what was new for me was attending Titao’s annual “Fete de la Pomme de Terre.” Yes, the festival is almost as ridiculous as Gilroy’s garlic festival, only, its all about potatoes. After a morning of speeches and cultural/traditional dance and song, we shopped at the 100 plus stands of farmers selling, you guessed it, potatoes. Potatoes potatoes everywhere! We all had a lot of fun and of course, ate a lot of potatoes.

traditional dancing in Titao; selling patates

New Internet
Remember way back when, back when they were building a new cyber next to the post office in Djibo? Construction was already well underway, the guy telling me it’d be up and running in just 2 weeks? Well, more than one year later, it’s finally true! Yes, no longer do I have to travel 113K on ridiculous/horrible/unreliable/windowless/always late/always breaking down transport to use internet. Djibo’s first cyber is now open!! Which means that I will now be able to (cross my fingers) check email on a weekly basis. The bad news, is that some genius put some restrictive setting on the computers so that no one is able to use a USB key, meaning we cant save anything, work on any personal docs or upload any pictures. We can’t even open attachments in email. Which means, Ill still have to travel to Ouahigouya/Ouaga to work/send documents, open attachments and update the blog.

New method to treat scorpion bites?

So I’m eating the usual dinner of tô at my neighbor's house when one of her daughters (13yrs old) gets stung by a scorpion. Here scorpion stings are not dangerous, they just hurt like hell. The family quickly gathered around her as she sat on the mat crying out in pain. I obviously felt for the poor girl, she handled the bite a lot better than I probably would have, but I was completely struck by the “healing” methods the family used. The father sat next to the girl and had his young son go catch a frog. He then took his daughter’s foot (where she got stung) in his hands and proceeded to slap her foot back and forth with the live frog! He did this for about 5 minutes before I finally asked, what the hell are you doing??? He answered, “Ca c’est notre medicament Africain” (This is our African medicine). Strange? Yes, a little bit, but I decided to keep my mouth shut. I could only sit and stare in confusion/silence when he then proceeded to then press a small coin on the bite, since apparently rubbing money on the wound heals it? Then he rubbed what looked like a small piece of black charcoal on her foot, then made her eat it. Thank you God for westernized medicine!

New Library
The major news of course is the opening of Pobe’s library! La Bibliotheque Villageoise de Pobe Mengao is now officially open! It was a great day, wonderful to see it finally all come together. It’s been a lot of hard work, filled with hardships, frustrations and fear but it’s finally here. Hamidou is already doing a wonderful job as librarian. For more pics and information about the ceremony check out the library blog.