Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nasara Bye-Bye!

Okay,let me preface this post by saying that coming to Burkina Faso has taught me a lot and I'm very glad I came. So, it is VERY disppointing that it hasn't worked out for me. Yet I have decided that it is not best for me to stay. I have a number of health concerns and have found that this, in addition to other difficulties, has brought me to the conclusion that I need to leave Pissila. Donc, I will be on the next available flight for Paris.

Going along with this, and equally as sad for me, Jon and I feel that it's best he stay. He has not had the same difficulties and is also obligated to teach two classes until the end of the year. Eleanor also chosen to stay. She loves nasaras, but she doesn't want Jon to get lonely. So he gets to enjoy this wonderful climate sans moi.

I think it would be appropriate now to list some things I will miss about Burkina Faso so I will do it Top Ten style (since my dad likes Letterman):
10. benga (beans) for 25 cents
9. the marche and its array of thrifty treasures ( hello, i love my 'ok' belt and panda bag)
8. speaking french and being laughed at beaucoup
7. leopold sending me 12 blank text messages a day (leopold + cell phone= annoyed heather)
6. old men laughing at me when we're drinking dolo and i say animal names in moore
(donkey=buenga...not to be confused with benga)
5. little kids screaming "nasara BYE BYE" as I ride by on my bike (guess no one taught them
4. my host sister Balkeesa clucking her tongue at me (and dying my feet black. who doesn't
love black toenails for two months?)
3. Africans wearing hats and winter coats when it's 85 degrees outside (sometimes mittens)
2. sleeping under the stars (with Sayka Sayka lulling me from my sweaty bed into dreamland)
1. great people (they've been the sweetest and nicest people and I am truly going to miss them!)

Here are the Top Ten things I can live without:
10. sweating at 10pm in my tent trying to fall asleep ( and Jon sleeping peacefully beside me..
9. beggar kids singing at the gate trying to make me get out of my tent'o'sweat and saying "Je
ne comprends pas. Je parle a Moore"(or the ones in ouaga who slap me)
8. biting into several small sand pebbles every time I get a loaf of bread (or a bowl of benga)
7. getting a bacterial infection when i eat 25 cent benga (and pooing my pants after said infection
on African public transportation)
6. cab drivers! (they either rip me off or try to kiss me, heather+scandalous driver+heat
= nasara tanrum... and a backpack might get dropped and kicked)
5. sweating, all day every day (and night too!)
4. LATRINES and their creepy inhabitants (who I might right a children's book about)
3. running out of toilet paper (and resorting to notebook paper)
2. having noodles, rice, and white baguettes every meal (sometimes with a side of... more
1. my Burkina BUTT RASH. (great for those long bike rides on my bike!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Alas school has begun and the cool season has not. Steadily things are picking up around Piss-town. I am tres hereuse. Leopold has now officially introduced Jon and I to many important people and the school committees, donc, I am all set to begin empowering those girls!

Maintenant, I am in Ouaga for my out-of-site leave and a dr. appt. I have spent the day eating BEAUCOUP. I have also gotten to meet up with some fellow volunteers, which is always good.

Mommy and Daddy, thanks for the "mother package." i can now schedule the heck out of my village life! (which is tres importante what with the Africans being slaves to their sundials). You guys flippin' rock!

It feels like there's not much to recount... I have been reading and sweating a lot. We went to a dinner with the teachers that Jon teaches with and tore up the fanta! I am officially known as "Addo" by the Burkinabe. Whenever I am asked my name, my reply is met with a stare that might closely resemble one you would expect to see if I'd crouched down and did a headstand. The sounds of my name are an enigma that some people can only make out a long grunt of mushed-up syllables. I would resort to being fatimata again, but I am in a cathoic village now with many names like 'Simone' and 'Collette.'

To conclude this post I would like to talk about Anselm. He is our daily visitor and is the most polite, well-spoken and adorable 11 year-old I've known. Whenever he comes over I am immediately cheered up. Anselm can make my day! I am really excited to finally start working with kids! One thing is for sure: the villagers are wonderful.

Well love to all!!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

heather's hellacious happenings

Jon has laready mentioned that things have not been particularly "peachy" the past two-three weeks....pretty much since we've been at site. First, sadly, we are down a kitty. Mali has gone to the hereafter and Eleanor is our only cat. I guess we learned the hard way that you have to be careful with beloved pets in Africa! Next, during a weekend visit to the capitol, a beggar slapped me in the face and a taxi driver tried to kiss me. Last week I had an infection in both feet and this week I had a bacterial infection with a really high fever and horrible stomach issues. I'm now recovering in Ouaga and feel a lot better. It's amazing how a little AC and Shrek will change your perspective on the universe.

So about our work! School gets going next week and we should both get busier. It is hot hot hot right now but we're told that November-January is "like paradise" (a quote from Sylvie the PCMO who tried to cheer me up yesterday) which remains to be seen. We have several friends in Pissila. We probably spend most of our time (besides with eachother) with Philippe. He is who serves us cold drinks at our local buvette "Kosnabas." The drinks are SUPER SUPER cold and the ambiance is outstanding (maybe a little too far on that last point). We are lucky though.

Here's a typical Day-in-the-Life if you will: wake up around six, lay around while someone makes hot water for an awesome cup of Nescafe (YUM) and then make some oatmeal. next, (and this might be around 8) we go for a bike ride down this dirt road that leads to surrounding villages (sometimes we go off road for a little exploration..hello Lewis and Clarke) this will include about one million greetings and Burkinabe laughing at the weird white people. Next we head back to the homestead for some bucket bath action. Hopefully around now it is close enough to eleven to warrant some benga and cold fanta/castel/coke/sachet de l'eau (water). Around 12:30 begins what we call here the repose (rest/nap time). This lasts until 3:30. I usually lie in our house fanning myself. The evenings are wild cards, sometimes we have a guest or two, sometimes we get invited for some socializing over dolo (local beer) and sometimes we just cook up a tasty meal around 4 and hit the hay around 6. It's a hectic schedule for us. Sometimes you just can't fit it all in!

Well thanks for the comments guys! Love to everyone over there in the Americas. Enjoy the fall t.v. lineup!
Au Revoir for now.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


tomorrow is our big day! jon and i both got traditional outfits made for our swearing in. we leave for ouaga the next day and have a day for shopping there. we then set off for pissila on sunday! one of the other stagaiares found us two tiny kitty cats that will be joining us at our new home. their names are elanor and mali. they are trés mignon! (very cute)

i am hoping to be a lot better at updating my blog in the future. life should be less frazzled and crazy busy. there is not much new with stàge... i lost my cell phone (a real shocker) and i have a marché addiction. i don't have money but still manage to find tiny treasures.

OHH! i forgot that today we found out that the house we originally were going to live in will not be ready ( t.i.a. or "this is africa"/"ça va aller" as they say here which is another version of t.i.a.) anyhoo, we will now be movong to a smaller house that we've never seen and know nothing about!! Pas de probleme ( no worries!). We are only a little bit frustrated which must mean that our training has been successfully. haha

i would like to end on a poetic note. here is a poem that me and my B.F.F.B.F. ( best friend burkina faso) wrote:
"Donkeys in the Mist"
Morning came, cloudless, warm.
The donkey stood strong, unadultered.

What is this feeling? The donkey cried.
Who heard?

The schoolhouse stood flat, as if to hear;
To understand the river of emotion.
It flows brave, stolen.

Come back! I wept inwardly. The donkey still bellowed.
The wails of longing. Tired, bitter, misunderstood.

The donkey's coat begins to shine below the sun's glare;
Perhaps with love we find life, with hope, understanding.

A fly gently swoops around the donkey's visage.
I am here, I think. The donkey, the fly, moi.

I take a step back; I weep and the donkey echoes.
He stands blandly, as if to say, " I commend you my friend."

The sundrifts down in the sky of whirling dust; the donkey crouched down.
It is time for rest. No more stàge; it is time to be still.

My friend Beth and I composed this and performed it for the talent show. It was hysterical... maybe we've been in village too long!

Friday, July 27, 2007

last month of stàge

hello!!! i am still alive but thinner or in french maigré (i think). i have gotten several letters and am so happy!!! thanks to everyone and i will try very hard to get back to you. it is kind of chère (expensive) to send letters so i am trying to wait for someone going to the the u.s. to mail them there.

so i have been getting along very well lately. burkina faso is really growing on me. we found a place to get cold milk!! and i am a marché junkie. it is so great; you can find anything!!! i got a lord of the rings shirt, a teapot, a belt, and tons of other treasures! it is like a thrift-store DREAM.

jon and i have been going to yoga and that has been great; although last nite a blister beetle crawled in my pants and stung my butt about five times!! we also got to spend a few days in ouagadougou and that was amazing. the food there is other-worldly compared to village food, although i LOVE LOVE LOVE benga (aka: beans and rice).

well i better go, but i have two little funny things to say 1. i heard a new version of sting's song "i'm an englishman in new york." it is reggae and it goes "i'm a rasta-man from ouaga." dad, you would have died!
2. there is a city close to pissila ( aka piss-town) and it is cqlled poutanga! that is for you, brian!!

love to everyone and stay in touch! you can also leave comments on this blog and i will feel special!! i'll mail some letters soon!!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Yeah!! I am on the internet!!

Hey everyone! I have been in Burkina Faso for almost a month now...sorry this is my first post. It has been a fun-filled couple of weeks. I live with a family in a village called Bogoya F. My new name that everyone in village calls me is Fatimata. It is HOT here; that is for SURE. Sleeping outside is my favorite thing here...under the African sky. ahhhhhh.
Also, I have a cell phone!! My # is 011 226 767 93 192. If you get an international calling card it is only 11 cents a min! It is amazing to be able to talk to mommy or daddy anytime.

There has been way too much going on for me to stay in touch too well this last month, but I will do better after stàge (aka: training). I am slowly learning french...I do speak fluent franglais, though (a delightful combo of english and french). Hopefully I can post some pictures soon of my host family. They couldn't be sweeter or more accomodating. I adore my 15 yr-old sister Balkeesa. She's my new pal and we talk a lot. All in all, things are going really well; we found out where our site will be (Pissilla- a big village in the middle of the country- 2hrs N. of the capitol), we both got sick and it lived through it, and we've met some spectacular and exceptional people. I'd say everything is peachy.

Love to everyone!!! Keep in touch!!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

so long, farewell!

Today is our last day in Kansas City! I said goodbye to some incredible friends and it was pretty emotional. I got some very sweet gifts that I will treasure while I'm in Africa... thanks Jen, Sarah, Daniel, Jonah and Lydia! My sister got me an amazing gift; it is so special. Thanks, Laura!!! I love you baby sis! My parents and Jon's parents have really taken care of us this past month. I'm gonna miss 'em... it's too bad we have such great families... makes it harder to say bye-bye!

On a side note, Jon cut his hair and shaved!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I feel like a stranger just walked in. It looks awesome.

Well, if I didn't get to say bye to anyone....'bye.' I won't forget you! I'll try to keep this blog updated and if you write me a letter, I can guarantee I'll write back.

BYE GUYS! I'm out!