Jan 19, 2011

Visit to FAVL libraries

  Last week  I went down to village to visit the FAVL libraries. The visit was for a couple different reasons: 1) I acted as a sort of liaison/tour guide to a visiting professor from USF and 2) to assist Rodrigue, a student in Ouaga doing research for his thesis, in conducting an inspection/survey of the FAVL libraries. Even though it was for work, it was great to be able to get out of Ouaga for a while.
It amazes me how much village calms me. I guess it’s the quietness, the simplicity of village life. I returned from village calm and stress free.  It didn’t last long, returning to an abundance of emails and work, but it was wonderful while it lasted!
They say pictures are worth a thousand words, so I feel like I can better express my time in village through pictures (taken by Charley and the professor) rather than my rambling words.

Conducting a survey of Bereba's library with Rodrigue

                                           A happy reader
                                             The library of Koumbia

                                            Outside Bereba's library

                                         It's cotton cultivating season down south

                                     Woman making bricks with baby helping

                                I'll pass on taking this taxi brousse!

                                     Hanging out in the village of Boni
                                                Don't get any ideas (yet) mom!
                            Playing with paper planes in Dimikuy

Jan 6, 2011

Happy New Year's!

This year my Christmas and New Year’s were definitely more ‘holiday-like’. Like previous holidays back home, I spent too much, drank too much and ate too much! To be honest I’ve been completely spoiled these past few weeks, indulging myself quite happily and guilt-free in the “good life.”

Still arrogant with the success of our first brunch, Charley and I held another party at our house, inviting our neighbors and friends. Now that my culinary skills are at their finest (or so I thought) I cooked up “riz gras” (rice cooked in a tomato-like sauce), beef kabobs and teriyaki chicken with brownies for dessert. Unfortunately, the kabobs and chicken were tough and overcooked. The rice was absolutely delicious but the truth is that a Burkinabe friend came to help and ended up cooking the entire dish herself…a blessing actually. Charley and I were pleasantly surprised with some beautiful locally made gifts by our very good friend and neighbor Madina.

As a Christmas present to ourselves, Charley and I now have a fridge in the house. It’s sad how ridiculously happy we are about this. I realized though, that I haven’t had a fridge in my house since June 2008, and considering I am the Queen of Food (or rather, Queen of EATING), that is saying something! I have reminisced about what having a fridge means to me: 1) I don’t have to buy veggies/ingredients the day I plan to use them 2) Cold drinks await me just outside my door 3) I can no longer use the excuse “I guess I HAVE to eat this entire cauldron of mac and cheese since it will go bad by tomorrow”

In addition to my new eating habits, some ex-pat friends left to travel over the holidays. I was asked to feed their cat while they were gone. Having this tiny crazy cat attack my feet and claw up my legs was totally worth it: not only is their house beautiful but I was able to swim and lounge by their wonderful pool!
So as you can see, my holidays were nice: everything from going out to nice restaurants, lounging by a pool, dancing the night away and watching an incredible (even for US standards) New Year’s fireworks display in downtown Ouagadougou.

However, I also realized that this has been the third holiday season that I have spent away from home, away from family and friends. On the phone my mom told me “I’ve been spending the past three holiday seasons with other people’s children…next year I want to spend it with you!” I concur wholeheartedly. And today, posted on the internet where anyone/everyone can see, I promise that next year I will be at home (or Quebec) surrounded by friends and family for the 2011 holidays.

Happy New Year everyone!