Friday, May 15, 2009
The adventure begins!!!
4th day in Burkina, and already I have lived through a world of experiences. After 18 hours of travel on 6 different modes of transportation we finally arrived. Walking out of the plane on to the tarmak we were greeted by some intense 37 degree weather and it was already 4 in the afternoon!! I was looking forward to the breeze that I saw whistling through the trees but was dissapointed to discover that is was a wave of heat passing over me instead. Upon our arrival we were also immediately surrounded by what are called rastas. Young men trying to sell us things and become friends with us. Warm welcome, but maybe a bit overwhelming. We got to our hotel a couple of hours later. It's a nice transition from Toronto to Burkina because it still has toilets and fans and electricity, so we are getting eased into the way of living here. All of the long term overseas volunteers in Burkina came to meet up with us, and we went out for dinner at Stade de France. It's neat because instead of ordering from the Stade de France we order drinks there and there are stands around where we get food. The food is pretty good so far but lots of people are getting sick from it. Then back to the hotel as we were all completely drenched in sweat as we have been for the past 4 days and very worn out. A nice surprise of 2 cockroaches and 1 lizard was waiting for us at our hotel. It's hilarious because some of the lizards do pushups when they are standing still. I will put a video up once I get to my office. Day 2 was our first real adventure!!! Alanna, our Junior Fellow Support, sent us off by ourselves to tackle the grand marché. She gave us 7 things to buy without telling us the price and we each went our seperate ways to explore!!! I don't think I've ever been ripped off so badly in my life :) I bought fabric for about 6 times the price that it usually is, and somehow got convinced into buying a hideous dress haha. The rastas were very successful that day at the market!! My friend Nushka even managed to be convinced to convert to practicing islam!! 2 hours and a weird shower experience later and she was muslim. Later that night we went to a restaurant that is called TV5 which is an outdoor restaurant with a big TV that is always on channel 5. Day 3 was our sector day. We split up into agriculture group and water and sanitation group. There was so much to learn about the water and sanitation sector and about how we could have long term positive impact on it!! Turns out the NGO I am working with, Helvetas, is a very sustainable organization and when they find a project that they like they stick with it for 40 years! Hopefully I will be able to convince them that working with the communes of Burkina is a worthy project. I also found out that my mentor at work is very excited to meet me, and is already preparing my office :) I will meet him today and tomorrow he will drive me to Fada N'gourma where I will be working. He has temporary housing set up for me and I will sort something permanent out upon arrival. We are also going to try a new project of having a Burkinabè volunteer work with the communes. New and exciting initiative that I will be heading up. Day 4 was our first day off. I talked to my EWB coach about my expectations for my placement and about how I am feeling. We then went to the beach with a bunch of the long term volunteers and found a place that had goat cheese salads mmm.
We went by motorcycle so I got to test out my awesome helmet that I bought in Toronto. I am finally starting to adjust to the heat but it is pretty vicious. Some restless nights, and 5 people were sick last night. Today is our last day together before we all split up over the country. This is where the adventure really starts. A bientot!!!