Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A nice weekend!


Today is Eid-el-Fitr, the celebration for the end of Ramadan, so the streets are calm (only accosted by one street vendor) and the office is almost empty. Although there is still no work (we resigned ourselves to the fact there wouldn’t be until we leave to Dori, which is scheduled for Thursday the 2nd) I did want to be there for some ‘internet-ing’, as I couldn’t make it yesterday. I was not feeling so well, although I was not actually sick- just no energy whatsoever, so I just lay in bed for the entire day. It’s a lot better today, and I will go to the UN doctor tomorrow for a quick check-up.

We had a great weekend, and I was impatient to write about it! On Friday afternoon we decided to take an alternate route to the supermarket and ended up in little streets where people actually live, rather than the big roads with ministries we had so far only been on. It was something I had been waiting for. Walking amongst people going about their daily business, being greeted by some (but not followed by persistent vendors), I felt I was finally amongst the people of this city. We bought some fruits and vegetables in those streets, which was refreshing- not only did we come back loaded with fresh oranges, lemons, apples, tomatoes and onions, but there was no haggling or trying to rip us off. The lady was happy to sell, we were happy to buy (it was very cheap, e.g. 75 Euro-cents for six oranges, 3 Euros for everything altogether).

We didn’t do very much on Saturday and Sunday, but that was the good thing. With the two other interns we lay around in the living room for the better part of both days. We were reading- books, newspapers, documents for work-, napping, and discussing. With an American, a Senegalese, a German and a Belgium the conversations are definitely interesting, especially as Cherno, the Senegalese, likes to enthusiastically elaborate on all of his views, be it politics, religion, lifestyle…or, very often, women! ;) We also passed by a nice bakery, and went out for dinner on Saturday evening to celebrate our week-anniversary in Burkina! –where we had African Guinness  which is sweeter and less creamy than the ‘normal’ one, but still recognizable as Guinness.

I was really happy with the relaxed, serene atmosphere, both of the city and at ‘home’ with the other three- it was a good time to think and appreciate being here. Although I wouldn’t say I feel ‘at home’ yet, I definitely don’t feel like I am in a strange place- in just a week Ouaga feels quite familiar, and like a place I would not mind living in for a while, especially after having been in the smaller, more populated streets. (Although Ouaga and Burkina Faso in general still feel quite empty- despite some places to visit, it is an extremely poor country, and life is simple. But to a large extent, I don't really feel that matters for a few months or even years, it is just a different way of living- for illustration's sake of the less comfortable parts though: so far Kathrin and I share a little room, her on a mattress on the floor, there is no hot water, the toilet only flushes a few times a day, we are covered in bug bites, etc. We did finally realise our air conditioning does work though, which is nice to cool the room down before going to sleep.) Despite not having any real WFP work yet, I am also happy to be here in this particular internship context- I am sure once we are in Dori the work will pick up, and it truly feels like the right place and right work at the right time- with the right buddy too :)

Otherwise as last news, we talked with Hien this morning, responsible for logistics, who gave us an overview of logistics and of his general views on the WFP, which were fun and gave some new insights (less official), and hopefully tomorrow we will talk to Paola, who is in charge of vulnerability assessment and mapping (determining where and who needs how much help) and other things.

We should be leaving to Dori on Thursday the 2nd of October, so just two more days to enjoy Ouaga and wonder what awaits us up North!


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