Saturday, April 30, 2011

May Showers bring June Flour!!!

It has been a while since I last updated my blog and so much has been happening since I last wrote. If you have been keeping up with international news, you will know that Burkina Faso has been appearing in print. There has been some disturbances lately, so I am attaching some links on what's happening at the  end of this entry.  I do want to let you all know that I am fine. Most of the problems are in isolated cities, and I have not been affected by what’s been going on.

My last April Hot season is finally over and I am waiting on the rain to come.  For most of April the temperature was fine, I was handling it quite well, but all of a sudden is snuck up on me. Everyday is well over 100F, but this last week it has become so unbearable. The only plus side is that there are occasional showers.

I celebrated Easter with some other volunteers in my regional capital. I had other plans with my old village, but they fell through due to the problems in Burkina. It ended up being a really good celebration anyways. I went to church in the morning, and I love seeing all the Burkinabe dresses up. Everyone pulls out their good church clothes for Easter. After church a village friend lent us the use of her stove and the other volunteers and I prepared a nice meal of deviled eggs, salsa, guacamole, tortillas’,  custard, and crepes!


My third year is going quite well. It took me a while to get the hang of things. At first I thought it was because I was having trouble readjusting back to Burkina after a month long vacation in the States, but really it was the fact that my office could never explain what they wanted me to do.  This is a common problem with volunteers. A community thinks it’s a great idea to get a  volunteer, but once they receive one, they really aren't for sure what to do with them. After working with my counterpart(like a co-worker) he helped to explain what they wanted me to do as my “official” job, and other project that they needed my help with.

My official job is supervisor of the TB campaign going on in Burkina. The NGO Kasabiti gives funding to small organizations through out Burkina to do outreach education on TB. The organizations also get training on what is TB, how to spot TB in people, and they also receive materials like photos or videos to help with their speeches. My association gets funding to do supervisions. My co-worker and I do monthly visits to 10 different organizations through out the Centre-Sud(Center South) providence. We go and watch at least one outing per organization.  We also do random office visits, making sure they kept receipts for everything they used or they actually do the outings they organized. The biggest part of my job is writing up reports on what I see during the office visits and outings. It is really to make sure, they are following the project plan that was laid out by the original NGO.

What I really like about my third year, is having resources to do things. I work for an association that has a lot of contacts throughout the regions.  I also could use a projector to show an educational film, or print off pictures if I need to give a speech. Using natural resources is a great way to make sure a project is sustainable after a volunteer leaves, but sometimes you just need some help to get your point across(especially when you don’t speak the same language). My first two years I just showed up and did what I thought needed to be done. Since I came straight from college I didn’t really have any experience in health education and outreach, so I learned all I could during training. But when I needed more information on a health topic or project I had to go to the capital to get my info, or try to ask my hospital staff, which normally I didn’t understand all of what they said. Now,  if I need more help on a topic I can Google it from my office and I can even translate it! I know internet isn’t everything, but I really wish I had it my first two year, because I feel I would have been more confident in certain subjects if I would have had regular access to information. Its crazy to think people had what I have now during their original two years! I know I was a good volunteer, but if I had what I have now, during my first two years I think I would have been way more effective. Overall things are going very good. I am glad that I chose to extend, I get to see a different side of the development scale.

Thanks for reading, hope to hear from you all soon!

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