Pictures say a thousand words right? So these are actually really long posts. This is a picture of some kids I hang out with. The two on the right are my dogomusos, aka little sisters, Habi (like Abby) and Kadi (not like Katie). They're fun, we goof off. Dramane (pronounce it French style) is the little boy striking a common Burkinabe child pose. The photo posing culture here is bizarre, I must say. The little boy in the red shirt is Amidou and he is such a gentleman. He's my absolute favorite. I love him love him love him! Sherif is on the right, he's the accoucheuse's elder son. He's kind of a brat, but super adorable. The other pic is my water filter with dirty ass water in it. I thought I'd show you all what people here drink as tap water. I believe it is particularly full of dirt because it's rainy season.
Ok, the last couple of weeks I have been super busy at site. I've been getting up early for 7 am women's groups meetings where I sit, understand barely any of the Jula spoken, and try to learn names and faces. I'm basically just trying to make connections and figure out who's who in village. The group I've met with the most is a new caisse villaegoise, aka savings and credit club created and maintained through the Caisse Populaire that exists in my village (which is some big time shit that there is one because they're normally only in cities/big towns). So this lady Adjara goes around to all the villaegs around here created these groups so women can take out loans of up to 50 mille for entrepreneurial purposes. The ladies I meet with sell dried fish, which is very popular here, piment aka peppers, and spices. Some of them also sell dolo, aka alcoholic beer type drink popular among mostly the Catholics and Protestants of my village.
Meanwhile, at the CSPS recently we had a stillbirth followed the next day by a woman who died during pregnancy. She bled out. The baby survived. And as it turned out, this woman was the pregnant woman, Bernadette, from the caisse villageoise with whom I'd been meeting. Only I didn't find out until several days later that it was her. My accoucheuses were very shaken up after the death; it's pretty rare apparently. So after the next meeting with them, one of the other ladies took me to her house so I could give my condolescences to the family. I even learned some Jula benedictions of loss for the occasion. Then it turned out she was Mossi and her family speaks Moore, and not Jula. So that was frustrating, but I think her mom and sister got the point.
On a lighter note, I biked to a nearby satellite village twice in the last week. The village has had two Peace Corps volunteers in their time. I met the family they had lived with while they were out cultivating peanuts in their fields. They were super nice and gave me a giant pagne-full of peanuts to take back. I don't know how I'll ever eat them all. I've been giving them away as cadeaux, so I think that's how. The second time I went was to watch a sensibilization by a guy who works for an NGO in Bobo. It was on palu and like 10 dudes showed up because it was at 10 am when all the women and most of the men are in the fields cultivating. Lame. Part of my job is to keep in mind people's seasonal schedules and daily routines when planning my sensibilzations and other projects. This was an excellent example of how not to plan a sensibilization. It was also a good opportunity to causer with some motivated guys in my satellite village who I may/probably will collaborate with in the future. On my way out of the village, I stopped to chat with some Catholics who sell dolo. One guy spoke French, so it was actually pretty informative. I also received a cadeau of some dolo and got a little buzzed in the middle of the afternoon before biking home. :) The dude showed my a different road back to the main one that involved crossing a stream using stepping stones and him carrying my bike across like a crazy-buff old man. Impressive. I saw some damn beautiful baobab and palm trees, as well as some cute pig babies. All in all, I'm jealous of the other two PCV's who have served there, because it's truly gorgeous out there en brousse.
One last anecdote: my cell phone was stolen the evening I came home from Bobo last time. This sixteen year old kid used to come and visit to causer a lot and he was nice and answeerd my questions and was generally polite and soft-spoken. He mentioned a couple times that he wanted a cell phone but his oncle wouldn't pay for it and his parents are in Cote d'Ivoire working, so I knew he was aiming for money from me. He had come over twice before while I was douching (taking a bucket bath) and obviously realized that I don't always lock my door when I do that. So when I got back from Bobo I was disgusting and desperately needed to bathe. He was in my courtyard and I asked him to leave, because I think it's weird when he hangs around while I'm douching. Unfortunately for my dumb ass, I entered the douche before I saw him leave, and didn't lock my door, and he used that opportunity to open the doors, grab the phone from where it lay right next to the door, and bolt. What a dick. I still didn't fully believe it til the next morning when one of the nurses called my phone and it was off. I knew that battery was full. So that's the first time I cried at site. It sucks feeling like you can't trust people. But my homologue was really great about it and helped ameliorate the situation by acting as the liason between me and the boy's uncle. I ended up getting the phone back that afternoon, but the kid had broken the sim card so I still couldn't use it. We had a nice long conversation with the little douchebag and basically he's scared of me now, and probably avoids the CSPS altogether. It's strange because he lives in a courtyard just behind me but I've only seen him once since this happened, and it was near the marche. He knows never to come to my courtyard again, and most people I talk to regularly know what happened and were very supportive of me. The Burkinabe do NOT like thieves. And I learned not to trust teenage faux-types. And to lock my door every time I douche. Which is pretty annoying. I also realize that I forgot how teenage brains are not fully developed and don't often consider repercussions or the utter obviousness of stealing something from a foreigner when you are the ONLY PERSON who was there other than said foreigner, thus inevitably leading to your capture. What an idiot. Anyway, it's over now, but I thought I'd share that just because, ya know, I didn't have a cell phone for a week, and it was during a time when I really could've used some emotional support. So instead I hung out with people in village and got into the musical In the Heights, which I discovered on my ipod. LOVEZ IT!
Time to get moving on out back to village! Let's hope I have the sense to lock my door this evening when I douche! Let's also hope that my bush taxi doesn't get a flat tire and get stuck in the mud like last time.