Big Up from Aribinda

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mac Wisdom, Volontaire au Corps de la Paix

So, I have done it. Tomorrow I will officially be a volunteer, a dream come true. This training has been hard, and yes, I am sick again. Just a little, but it still sucks.

That has been the worst thing, being sick. We moved out of the host families houses the other day and back into ECLA, our training base en ville in anticipation of swear-in. Being sick is the worst because of course you just don't feel good. Secondly, your surroundings are so alien and not as comfortable and commode as in the States. Thirdly, my family just didn't understand why I was sick. I guess it's hard to describe to them. I wasn't even about to start trying. So many times I get started with my French, then I get into something to complex, and I arrete. It's all good. When I come back to see them en Decembre, my French will be better and then I can explain to them.

I am traveling up north on Sunday, then going to site probably on Tuesday. It is gonna be fun and crazy. I am one of the only people who has not been to site. That makes it a little more interesting. Most new volunteers have seen their site, met a lot of people, including gendarmes, policiers, les autres fonctionnaires, etc. Me, I have met my proviseur and three fellow teachers. They all seem like great guys and they are going to be the main avenue for improving my French, if they don't mind practicing with me. Plus, the Peace Corps has a tutor fund it will pay for a year for further languaga tutoring. I am definitely doing that, in French and Fulfulde. The local language will be really good for when I talk to the community about secondary projects and also for when I talk to the APE. I need to pay attention to the girls needs too. That is super important in a developing country like Burkina. The girls must be empowered. My opinion is a country is only so powerful as are its female citizens. That is the overwhelming truth in the world today.

Much love goes out. I hope to speak to you all soon. Take care!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Presque à la Fin!

Of stage at least! Things have been good, it has been raining a lot. The rain cools it down significantly, but makes it a pain when you're on a bike. That's all I do, ride a bike and sit through alot of tech sessions, language classes, cross-cultural classes. Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's not.

But, I see the end. Feels like it has been 4 months since I got in-country. The real thing is about to begin. We swear-in as Peace Corps Volunteers in a week, on the 24th. Then a week from Sunday I will get dropped off at my site, in a predominantly Muslim village. The main ethnic group is Fulani. They are the West African herders you may have heard of. They speak
Fulfulde, which I will also be learning at site.

My French is alot better, and it is soon going to be good. I have 5-6 weeks in village before I start teaching, so I will be getting acquainted with the locals, learning French, lesson planning and experimenting, and just hanging out. Mom, I am gonna call on you for a book order and some more packages soon. I hope you can oblige.

Much love and more soon. Hope the temperature is right where ever you be!

Saturday, August 4, 2007


We just got done with our third French interrogation, where they interview you, en Français, to assess your progress and give you a level. I currently sit in the middle of the totem pole, right where I think I should be. I am at intermediate mid, needing to be at intermediate high to go to site after swear-in. I am close. The last three weeks have been difficult. I spent a lot of the month sick and just being tired. My appetite was next to nothing, then with my malady, I couldn't keep anything in my body. It's funny, when you go somewhere marginalized with a bunch of well-to-do Americans, you can talk about bowel movements and not bat an eye! Quite frankly, we almost don't find those kinds of things funny anymore!

But yeah, got three weeks of stage left, one more interrogation to go. Now that I am well, I plan on studying more to bolster my French and get to that level. We'll see what happens! And after stage, I get to go to my site and then the real adventure begins. I will be a PCV, not just a PCT. I am super excited, this is so crazy. I don't know if I have every said anything in my blog about it, but everyday, I am sitting there, and there comes a moment. I look around and realize again what I am doing, where I am at, and who is right next to me. I realize how cool this is. How many people get to do this? The Peace Corps is so cool. Yeah, training is hard, but come on, this is what it's all about.

Much love goes out to everyone in Oregon and elsewhere, especially the family. I hope you guys had fun on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River. I missed out, I know, but I know you guys represented for me. Pops, let's do that Middle Fork of the Salmon in July or August 2010. Wisdoms, we gotta do that river!