Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Let's Try this again: January 5

SO blogging while I was in Burkina didn't work out very well because by the time I was ready to wind down for the night I had to upload pictures to facebook (because I was paranoid about loosing them) and write in my journal (because I wanted to write every single detail down) and that whole process took close to two hours each night. Also the internet was slow. So I'll write posts for each day and you can read them now! All of this is taken from my travel journal, things I changed are in brackets.

January 5:

I woke up to chickens and music this morning. I slept pretty well except my pillow was a bit hard. One of my journaling issues is that I want to capture every moment on paper but it's simply not possible, especially with the long conversations I've been having. I'll do my best but remember the experience is more important than recording. It's so cool to be sitting in my room hearing all of the kids playing, getting ready outside. Just something from yesterday- the [younger] kids have a habit of "ruining" things - bike pumps, cell phones, chairs, etc by picking at them and such. Coral think's it's an institutionalized thing as she has seen it in other places where she has done mission work.

Also when I first got here I was a little [surprised] by the religious nature [of the organization] [I wasn't thinking about it as I was freaking out about other things leading up to the trip], after being here though, I think it's a good think and I'm glad it's not just an NGO. There is amazing work being done here both for the kids and the community-kids from the community come and hang out here and the school in town is sponsored by Sheltering Wings and many of the kids have been brought up Christian anyways. Also, Coral is amazed how long it has been "on my heart" to come here. She's so sweet!

I am so impressed with the language skills of the kids - More is so beautiful. Also [during] the car ride [from Yako] it was so cool to listen to the conversation drift between French and English. It's about 10am. For breakfast this morning I had yogurt, bananas, and a crushed up granola bar. The yogurt was tart, like frozen yogurt but good. Coral and I went to get the three "toddlers", Moise, Winddinda, and Steve. She does therapy type things with them - from occupational (brushing teeth) to speech (singing) to physical (walking on the beam). It's really amazing to watch what she's done, especially with Winddinda who is very delayed developmentally. Steve is very bright, he can "communicate" in French and English [He knows what you are asking him to do] and he's only 4. He is also so patient with Winnie and Moise, I don't believe he has and developmental delays. His mom hasn't released custody so he's not actually up for adoption. Also it's pretty cold out so we are inside but it should warm up!

Steve and Moise
I think my biggest struggle has been and will be figuring out how to make the most of my time here. I find myself intimidated by both the local people and the older kids, especially the [ones] around my age. I know they are nice but there is still something intimidating. I regret not having more French, I feel uncomfortable with interactions because I can't speak their language. I also hate that the kids in the village yell "Nasara Boom-Boom!" Which means "White Person Candy!".
[I found this about the origin of Nasara on the blog of someone I met:
Village Kids
          They always yell “Nasara!” which is the word for foreigner. As the first foreigners to visit this country, Christian missionaries came from Nazareth to spread their gospel. Henceforth, in the eyes of Burkinabe, all foreigners are referred to as a Nasara. Strangely enough, when I visited Nazareth I didn’t see anyone else who looked anything like me…]

[I talked a lot about my project but you can read about that when I finish it]
I also just wanted to say that I really am astonished by how this program is run, the needs and the abilities of the children are well understood and some things are understandable - like still having outhouses while we have running water - are understandable. This is the fact of life for these kids and we are giving them the care and resources they need to thrive. I'm also realizing just how little we need to get by and be happy. Also on education the main issue I see is memorizing and lack of critical thinking - it's so frustrating! It will also be interesting to see what goals the school age kids have for themselves after school is over for them [one of the questions I planned to ask when I went into the schools]. It really just changes the way you think, being here, what do these kids really want out of life and how it is different/the same as me.

Ok so this morning I was really struggling with what to do and being intimidated and stuff but everything is working out very nicely. I set up two days to go and talk to the kids at the school (and get written answers) and I'm also going to try to talk to some of the kids here tomorrow night. The school system is so frustrating because it's not fostering creativity or critical thinking because most of the kids are just going to end up selling things or working in a job where there is no room for growth - so why does school even matter? Also, why are they learning German?
Coral and I went to the market again and did a little exploring. We got to go in and get a behind the scenes look at the baguette place (my favorite!). The lady there is so nice (and pregnant!). When we got back we watched some of the women dying the yarn that they use to weave/sew. I did a puzzle with the kids and it was really interesting to watch - most paid no attention to what was on the pieces, even though they had the picture in front of them, and pushed the pieces together.. One kid, Yannick, had it all figured out.
It was [one kid's] birthday (or something) and he got a gift and one part was this nice Swiss chocolate. The first thing he did was go around and share with everyone, including me. It was so sweet, why can't we all be like that? DO we need a whole chocolate bar to ourselves? Why are we so selfish! After, I went to hold the babies, adorable as usual. It's funny because Winnie is so intrigued by white skin, since she's being adopted so she keeps playing with my arm. Steven asked if I was her mom <3 I would take him home in a heartbeat. We went to the market again with Amy and Moise and looked t fabric for the widows. We went to the store we normally go to and the man said something to the kid  who was working with him about me being a good wife! [that happened a lot over the course of the trip...]. It's intimidating being to young but at the same time it's fun. [...] The more I think about it, the more I want to do work like this while I'm young. I don't need anything besides food and a little house. Why are we so materialistic? Anyways, we went to dinner at Mike and Amy's house and had rice and potato curry and apples. It was really nice to sit and listen to their stories (good and bad - kids do [get sick] and die) and hear orphanage news. It's interesting that things I learned in my anthropology class are true - like the frustration of watching people (including the pastor!) pick "traditional medicine" which can be really dangerous for [the person receiving it]. We also talked about how the school system is basically setting the kids up to fail. I need to understand. I don't know if better education is the right answer, but the fact of the matter is that the system is failing.

Also, I love all of the songs the tantes [care givers] sing and the handshake [that is popular here, with the shaking hands and snapping the other person's finger]. I also met Daniel the tutor, he will be good to talk to about education. Also, the kids study three hours a night, how are they all failing! One of my struggles is language - I know greetings in French and "joli" and basic numbers and "semaine" and a few other things, and Barto taught us "Ah-bil-ee-fou" is More for "see you soon. When I come back, before grad school (?), I will be better at French.  I think today really gave me a chance to think about why I am here and what I want to do while I'm here. By focusing on education, I can direct my energy to that and understand the system and see if I can find anyway to help. Also, I love the women's program ladies - they are hilarious et tres joli! Bon Nuit! HER

1 comment:

  1. Hi Holly, You have won a copy of Magical Miles, the Runners Guide to WDW. Please email us with your mailing information. Congratulations. By the way, what an amazing trip and experience