Wednesday, February 14, 2007

On a funnier note...roaches, pooh, and oh so much more...

Hello all. Well, I am stopping off in Bobo on my way back to village. I decided to go to my provincial capital, Orodara, to visit with another volunteer, Veronica, and some government bureaus. In my village the government built a BRAND NEW Maison de la Femme (a house which the government designates only for women and where they train them to do skills like sewing, cloth dying, etc.)...but thanks to the overwhelming efficiency and competency of the Burkina government, they put no equipment in it. So, for 2 years it has sat empty and unused...a great use of government money I would say. Anyway, I have to deal with various government bureaus to try and help the women get equipment and furniture to put in it (sewing machines, tables, soap making equipment, etc.). I also want to start holding health classes and maybe French or English classes there...I have a lot of plans for this place. So, off to Orodara I went to kiss some butt for a little bit and see what I needed to do to make things happen...

Anyway, I went to the dentist and again they say that nothing is wrong with my teeth...except that I was prescribed 3 medications and now the entire right side of my mouth aches so bad I am virtually on the verge of tears. I have special mouthwash, special toothpaste, pills, and the worst toothache ever...that they chalk up to a receding gum line!! WHAT?! Anyway, if in two weeks it hasn't improved I may have to go to either Washington or Senegal for consultation with another dentist...good and bad at the same time. But, honestly I would delighted for my teeth to just stop hurting because it is getting unbearable. Oh well, ├ža va aller.

My trip to Orodara was EXTREMELY interesting and entertaining! I was hoping that with my friend living off the goudron (i.e. cement/paved road) that our ride there would be smooth...however that was not to pass. I think I brought my bad village transport luck along. About 3/4 of the way there our reliable bus decided it just couldn't make it any further...the steam coming out of the engine was quite an indication. So, everyone starts piling off the bus to sleep on the side of the road until someone came to pick us up. They were getting comfortable...which made me nervous. Surprisingly, it only took about 15 minutes for the rescue bus to show up. Veronica and I are standing there and all of a sudden people start making a mad dash for the rescue bus (it reminded me of the people at Target on Black Friday after Thanksgiving). It was hilarious. Veronica gives me a look and then she was off too...she succumbd to the peer pressure...so of course--hiking backpack and all--I take off towards the bus. The backpack proved to be a great blockage device as people tried to cut in front of us to get a seat on the much smaller bus. Yet, all was for naught because there was room for everyone. But, at least it was entertaining. Now, before I get ahead of myself i have to rewind a moment...I forgot an integral and hilarious part of our story. As we were waiting for the bus we were observing this mother and her newborn baby. "Oh what an adorable little baby...kinda gross he doesn't have on a diaper...but cute all the same. Oh, what is that baby doing? Wait...is that what I think it is...oh god!" Yeah, well, in Burkina Faso I have yet to see a diaper so here was this little baby taking a nice poo on his mother's leg. She is just chatting away jiggling the baby smearing the saffron--I like to be descriptive--colored poo all over her leg. Eventually she looks down and realizes what happened . Calmly she picks up some leaves off the ground and wipes the poo frolm her leg and then uses a piece of trash paper off the ground to wipe the poor baby. That poor baby is just sitting there looking like he is in pure hell...it would be like getting wiped with sandpaper. And to think of all the wipes and poweders that my brother Dave had for his baby...geeze Dave you know you could have saved some money on diapers and wipes by just letting him poop anywhere and use old trash or leaves for his butt...this baby didn't seem to mind too much. After, still with the poopy remnants on the baby and on her...she straps the baby onto her back (where later I am sure the baby probably peed on her...oh well)

Now, the fun didn't just stop at our transport. We arrive at Veronica's house around 5 and I have to say that it was SO cute! She has the cutest little 3 bedroom house..it reminded me of an apartment back in the States. She had electricity and a spicket outside...so this is like heaven on earth for me...that is until night fell. There is only one slight drawback to Veronica's cute little oasis...and that would be the bathroom. As you all know my bowel movements are anything but regular or controllable...so around 8:00 I had to go out and use her bathroom. I stroll quickly--because I have about a 1 minute window before "take off"--only to be confronted by a freakin' colony of roaches taking up residence in her latrine. Holy hell...I can handle lizards, flies, mosquitoes, spiders, hippos, chickens, and goats...but I CAN NOT handle roaches. It was right then and there...make a decision...piss and probably poo yourself or go in...as Nike says, "JUST DO IT"...well, I couldn't. I run back in and ask Veronica to come out there and help me...what she was going to do I don't know...offer moral support? Talk me through it? Go in guns blazing with some roach killer? I like the last one best...but that isn't what happened. The countdown continues on my colon letting go, so she tells me to use her host families bathroom next door. In a mad dash I sprint to their toilet and I just pull my pants down...there is no waiting now. I look up while in there and there are 3 freaking HUGE roaches staring back at me from 6 inches away. So, I fight the urge to scream, die, run, pass out--I don't want to get poo on me thank you very much--and just finish as fast as I possibly can. I sprint out of there and pray to god that I don't have to go back to her bathroom at night ever again (which I did...but it gets a little easier every time...and I armed myself with rocks the next time). Things like that build character I think...so roach-infested bathroom, I say to you, "BRING IT ON...cause I am ready now!!!" Hehe...hats off to Veronica for living with her bathroom at night, when the creepy crawlies come out to play...she is a trooper!

Anyway, other than the whole life scarring bathroom incident at Veronica's we had a blast...we sat up talking girl talk, eating cookies, cooking fabulous cheesy Orzo by Matthew Pava (the unholy badass of the kitchen...I bow down to you and thank you so much for my package and recipes). Now, here I go trooping back to village with my bag full of goodies that I received in the 7 packages that came (THANK YOU Mom, Matt, Cindy, Tiffany, and Mike's sister/mom/dad). I can't wait to get home and cook and read and eat...I do that everyday but it's more exciting with stuff from America. I hope you are all wall and I will keep you updated on the happenings. Training and FESPACO are 2 weeks away and then after that it is a I get to look froward to a rendevouz with Mike at the end of May (We were going to Paris, but now it turns out we are probably going to Israel...I AM SOOOOOO EXCITED!!!). I will let you know what my plans are...but darn I am a WORLD TRAVELER...hehehe! Miss and love you all...Stay close!

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