Thursday, December 4, 2008

Back online and still talkative

It's been over a month since my last post. Back from the mission in the Soum province, I felt a little overwhelmed by everything I wanted to write about.. and ended up writing nothing. Of course the more I wait, the more there is to write. So I'm going to take it easy, not worry about missing out little bits or even entire chunks, and just take it from here- in true relaxed African 'ya pas de problème' style :)

For proper context I'll still make an overview of the past month. End October to beginning of November I was on the two-week mission visiting health centers in the Soum province. It was very interesting to visit so many of them, 26 in total, each in a village, often pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Considering the distances (up to 1OO km) and the state of the roads/tracks, I got to enjoy hours of Sahel landscape (which I can't get enough of yet) from the comfort of the big WFP car, to the sound of Salif Keita, a singer from Mali whose tape was on permanent repeat (somehow I didn't mind). It was also great work-wise to see how things work in the actual field, and I even felt our mission was useful :)

Despite all these good things, by the end of the two weeks I was eager to get back home to Dori and Kathrin. We had a great, 'magical' weekend as Seth had come up from Ouaga to visit: chicken + guinness in the evening and motorbike + brousse in the day sums it up. There was also a flat tire (close to a small village- a bunch of kids came by, I blurted out all the Fulfulde I know to them, Seth impressed them with some stone juggling) and pineapple (by the road track, under a tree, donkey carts passing by).

The week after was a 'regular' office week. Unfortunately Kath didn't feel well for a few days, but luckily she got better just in time to leave on her mission, also visiting health centers, but in the Yagha province. While she was gone it was my turn not to feel well, although nothing serious either, managed to go to the office every day. By the time she came back I was full of energy again, and we spent a nice relaxed weekend in Dori. Our boss Ali came back the next week and we were happy to get lots of work to do-

I will talk about work soon, but now I would like to conclude the November overview with the past weekend, which, after that work-full week, was welcome and duly enjoyed in Ouaga with the 'family', i.e. Seth, Quentin and Thierno, the guys we lived with in Ouaga when we first arrived. There was dancing, pizza, a swimming pool, chinese food, pretending to be gangsters with all the CFA francs bills, petits pains au chocolat... and a motorbike!! A brand new, shiny, green, roaring motorbike that we now happily drive all over Dori (Kath drives of course, masterfully despite the difficult deep sandy bits, and very carefully too by the way- I am just the annoying package sitting on the back). No more hundred year old scooter breaking down in the brousse and getting stuck in sandy Dori streets, no more sweating our entire bodies away when having to walk to the market midday for some fresh vegetables because they will be sold out in the evening!

We just uploaded pictures of all these exciting things (see link on the side) if you would like a more colourful and visual telling- I would say it is worth it.