I’ve been back in Burkina almost a month. After a week of waiting in Ouaga, I finally got to my new home. I arrived on a Monday by Peace Corps car. On the ride down I kept thinking how I felt that first time I was sent to site. The first time I was so nervous, but I kept telling myself it was going to be ok, but once we dropped off my closest neighbor, I realized I was next and I couldn’t do anything to control my nerves. The second time around I felt way more confident. I already knew the culture and the language.
I arrived really quickly, the driver helped me to unload my stuff, make sure my house was ok, and off he went. For the second time I had that awkward meet your association, host family, etc experience. For the first day everyone was like leave the white girl alone, she’s new. The second day however, I jumped right in. I went to work at 8, tried to get the lay of the land, like normal most people from my association was gone.
The first few days went by normally, but once the staff started to appear, things picked up. One of the contributors to my association is an NGO from Canada. They are based in the providence of Quebec, specifically the Lac St. Jean region. So, I have had two different groups from Canada come to visit. Both are focusing on environment. They come to tour the area, my association takes them to see Elephants, other nature like things (Baobab trees, lakes, etc…) and we set up some projects for them to participate in, like helping with a theatre program.
My Association is called Weog la Viim, (Nature, Its life!). We deal mostly with environmental issues, but there is a sector of health: malnutrition and infectious disease, and how the environment affects those issues.
My job at this moment is to deal with Tuberculosis. I was given a partner to work with, and he explained to me that we won’t be doing any physical work on TB, just monitoring what other groups are doing. Starting in March we will be going to 10 community organizations throughout my providence and helping them to make an action plan on TB, once it gets approved, then my association gives them money to do the projects and then I will return to supervise these projects, and write up a report on whether the local organizations do their work and are reaching the goals of the funder.
Pretty much right now I am working where ever help is needed. I’m actually fine with that, I’m getting a chance to see all different projects and programs.
I am also living with a family. I share a courtyard with them, but my house is free standing. I don’t have electricity, or running water again but I’m fine with that. I spend all my days at my bureau; my house is just really a resting place. The family is super nice, I had reserves about living so close to someone else, but I couldn’t be happier with them. All of the children are older and are used to other foreigners, and I think that makes a difference, no kids asking for candy, or wanting to touch all my stuff.
That’s all I can think of for now; I spend my week at work and weekends trying to get to know my village.
*Again a HUGE thank you to everyone I saw, visited or talked to while I was home. I had a wonderful vacation in Indiana. It was well needed after 2 years. See you all in 2012!