Big Up from Aribinda

Friday, October 19, 2007

Here's Where the Real Fun Starts

As Robert drove "the White NGO Cruiser" due west, the sound of the road was like heavy bass you hear at the movie theater. It was Monday, August 27th, and I was finally going to site in the Sahel. Arbinda, or Aribinda, seen it both ways. During the rainy season here (mid June to mid Sept), the Sahel is beautiful. Not forest, but sparsely wooded plain. Moringa trees abound, occasionally the grand Baobab tree dwarfing the others, as if proclaiming its superiority. Little finch-like, bright red birds shooting around, irridescent blue birds with graceful, fluttering long tails drifting forever on the wind. Little African kids playing in the "lakes" from the intense rains.

Black faces staring blankly at mind, probably saying, "Here comes another Tubaku." All of a sudden, we're 20 km from Arbinda. The past 80 km flew by. The ever present rumbling bass intensifies, like this is the climax of my African thriller. But, it's just really the beginning. Robert m'a dit, "Là, la montagne d'Arbinda." We finally get to the house followed by a grip of Burkinabé children. The wanna see the new Malcolm. That's the name of the volunteer I am replacing. I open the door to the big, 3-room house. Oh, Malcolm dropped a shit bomb in here and didn't clean anything up! That just means it's is filthy. Robert tells the kids to start cleaning up. Man, they do a pretty bang up job. That night I just continued to clean and meet people. It was a pretty good first night.

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