Monday, February 9, 2009

Meeting Lazy Lucy

Tragically, I wrote an awesome post and as I went to publish it, the internet cut out. Well, actually the power did. Anyway, I am sorry that this one is therefor done in haste and probably not nearly as good.

My last breakfast on Friday in Saponé (below) was the traditional milky something that I was often invited to share after doing the over-night shift. It was among many imprudent food choices that probably contributed to my currently rioting belly.

As I was dragging all of my things to the truck that was going to take me back to Ouagadougou, Clarisse and Zakaria showed up with a present for me from the Service (below). Clarisse is one of the accoucheuse at the clinic maternity, and Zakaria is the head boss of the clinic. They were both absolutely fabulous about teaching me and showing me strange things. Zakaria turned out to be my all-time best chaperone, speaking English with hilarious word arrangements and almost killing me on his motorcycle (as it began to shake and wobble, I decided it would be better to look stupid than die, and jumped off seconds before it went spinning into the bush-he and the bike were fine.)
I returned to Ouagadougou in time for an office party and began to feel a little out of sorts. However, I could not pass up the opportunity to do some tourism when Pascaline volunteered to take me the next day. Pascaline is the secretary at the FDC office in Ouaga and speaks English well when she wants to, and who happens to not like crocodiles very much.
When I agreed to be ready to go by 7:30am, I did not know where we were going or what I was going to see. I also should not have taken the time literally, as we did not leave until 9:30am, and made a whole bunch of detours on the way. By the time we were done saying "hi" to eveyone's aunties, buying snacks, and picking up and dropping off people, the sun was pretty high in the sky and it was hot. We took the road south out of Ouaga and headed for a place called Bazoulé.
Bazoulé, it turns out, is a crocodile park. We followed our guide (who held two flailing chickens and a large stick in his hands) around a large brown pond, and were soon accompanied by three rather sun burnt French men in excellent tourist attire. Arriving at a little peninsula with huge crocodiles scattered around, the guide announced it was time to touch the crocodiles and take pictures. The French men were not enthused. Though perhaps enthused is not the right word, I was not hard to convince...the animals were sleeping, weren't they? I straddled a dozing giant and touched the muddy scales with the tip of my fingers. I named her Lazy Lucy, and true to her name, she slowly blinked an eye at me and passed out again. The French men did not want to be shown up by a little American (why am I always little??), and soon were having a great time getting their white shoes muddy.
After all the pictures were taken, the guide invited us to help him feed those poor terrified chickens to the honkin beasts, and as the feathers flew, Pascaline and I decided to check out the nearby farming opperations (people take advantage of any water). Pascaline wanted to buy some tomatoes, so we got to wander around and pick them ourselves. It felt so good to walk the rows of a beautiful garden. I love how they plant their tomatoes with cucumbers to make them sweeter, and their peppers with parsley to make them stronger.

We returned to Ouaga for lunch, and after many more detours, headed north out of the city to a very rural area that just happens to have one of the larger museums in Burkina. It was a bumpy ride, and everything in the museum was super dusty, but it was great to check out all the crazy masks and costumes. Most things were sacred relics, so I wasn't allowed to take pictures, and the ones I did get aren't so great. The best part of the museum though was the party room. There was a whole section dedicated to traditional parties (birth, marraige) which was filled with instruments. As this is Burkina and not the States, we could bang on them all we wanted, and it turned out that our guide was a great drummer, so we had our own little party.
I'm running out of time, so I'll just wrap up by saying that for my last two days here, I am visiting a hospital maternity in the city. I spent this afternoon there, arriving in time to help with a birth! Though it is cleaner and there seems to be enough gloves, birth in this maternity is about the same as in Saponé. Tomorrow, I will be there all day, and look forward to prenatals visits that are primarily in French! (In Saponé, they were almost entirely in Morré.) Much love!

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