Friday, May 02, 2008

Attieke? No thank you!

I am reporting to you after a site visit to another volunteer, Rose. Rose used to be a volunteer in Guinea...remember Guinea? The place that I was supposed to go in January 2006, but I turned it down because it didn't feel right. Anyway, after political upheavals there they moved a few of the volunteers to Burkina to finish out their service. So...after she so graciously visited me to do a world map in my school, I hitched it up to Satiri to help her with her world map...a rather large 2 m x 4 m endeavor on the side of the school. It was an eventful trip, including my SECOND only vomiting experience in this country...which is quite a feat I think. Upon arrival in Satiri it is obvious that it isn't the "bustling Metropolis" that is Banzon. Our food options are limited to beignets, REALLY salty rice and peanut sauce, and attieke (MY FAVE!). So, of course I chow down on a bowl of attieke (pronounced: uh-check-ay, made from fermented manioc) and some fried fish heads...YUMMY! Things were going great...I was feeling pretty good about the food. It was a little crunchy, and the oil had more of a black color as opposed to the lovely golden brown we are used to. But, hey, it's Burkina...I have seen worse. We eat our meal and head back to her house for a little afternoon nap. As we are walking over to finish drawing the grid lines on the world map I start to feel a bit woozy. Being that I rarely throw up, I almost never recognize the signs when it's about to happen. I attempt to help with the work, but finally give up and we commission a small child to show me back to Rose's house while she continues on the map. We start walking and already I know something isn't right. My mouth starts to water like crazy and I know what's about to happen. We walk past this large group of men sitting around drinking tea and doing pretty much nothing. They enthusiastically greet me and start yelling, "hey, toubabou, hey...how are you? Where are you going? What are you doing?" Well...in t-minus 2 seconds I was heading for the ground...and as for what I was doing...well, puking my guts out while they just stood there and watched. I heard them talking in Jula to one another, "hey...look, the white girl is throwing up." The whole time I am thinking, "hey, where is that Burkina hospitality...get over her and help me!" At this point I have created a Jackson Pollock painting on the ground, but I catch my breath enough to tell someone to fetch Rose. Truly, after that I felt perfectly fine, and the rest of the week went wonderfully. I just had to avoid the one thing I actually enjoyed eating for the rest of the week. That night as I was talking to Rose about the whole thing we both agreed that while in Africa you can always say, "well, it could have been worse." I could have had it coming out of both ends in front of all those people, I could have still be throwing up, I could have had wrenching pain...but I didn't. Eh, it's not so bad, and it could always be worse. NEXT!

After 2 days of drawing and painting with the kids, and then a whole other day to fix everything the kids did, we finished. VICTORIOUS! These projects are really hard, but the buzz that it creates in the village, and the discussion it starts on geography is pretty wonderful. Most people don't know what the rest of the world looks like, what a continent is, where they are in relation to other places...and this map is a perfect tool to remedy that.

Alright, well, here are some pics of our world map, and also of some footage I shot of her teaching at the local middle school. After my experience seeing her teach I now know why I am a business volunteer...no way in HELL could I deal with these crazy kiddies who are packed 125 to a class!

Here is where we started...a large blank canvas

Then the kids started drawing the countries using our grid system

After that, the painting begins...and so does the stress! These kids are crazy when you put a paintbrush in their hands.

The painting continues, and people (and cows) look on
Okay...I just thought this picture was cute. Here are some of the many little kids that sat and watched us draw/paint for 3 days

Here is Rose...this is the day we had to go back and re-draw, re-paint, and re-fix...

Rose and I with the finished product...FINALLY DONE! Voila!


video

Here is Rose teaching geometry to 125 students...do you ever remember calling the teacher like this? A little eager are we?
Also, thanks to the convincing words of both Rose and Mike I have booked a trip to Morocco in July...not that I can really afford it. But, in the words of Mike, "Life is for living right? You gotta seize the moment!" Well said good sir! We are heading out July 5th to spend a week boppin' around Morocco.

Soon after I will be hoppin' on a plane to head back the US of freakin' A...for good (or at least for the foreseeable future). That's right ladies and gentlemen...it looks like I will be heading back home in July. I have two more months left of time here, and it is a bitter sweet last few months. To love a place so much, but to want to leave it...it's a hard thing to rationalize in your head.

Anyway, I am in Bobo for a day or two, and then headed back to village on Sunday. Back to the grind...it's that time of year AGAIN for my girl's camp, and I have got a LOT of organizing to do to have it ready to roll in June. Hope all is well there...I'm just here trying to stay cool, which is quite a task. See you all soon! Stay safe!

1 comment:

Scott said...

Just wanted to say hey, and thanks for the good work you're doing

I was checking out my Kiva entrepreneur and decided to Google up attieke to see what it's all about. I thought maybe it'd be cool to make some if I could find a recipe but they all seem to start out, "First, get some attieke." Heh.

Then I read your post and am rethinking the whole thing... ;-)

Anyway, good job, get home safe.

Scott