I ask myself this question after experiencing the following situations:
- I finish watching a few episodes of New Girl on my computer. When it’s over, I walk out my door and see people pumping water into buckets and using donkey carts to transport said water.
- Sitting at a nice hotel, ordering a Coke that is twice the price of what it would be in the store, but I must by something in order to use the Wi-fi. I feel a little out-of-place as I sip water from my Nalgene as Western tourists go by. They look so much clean.
- Bargaining for a taxi in Ouaga and getting upset when the driver tries to charge us the equivalent of 25 cents more just because we are foreigners. He thinks we will pay it because he thinks we don’t know the normal price of a cab. But au contraire, sir. We know.
- Having a cab roll up and cramming 10 people inside because we don’t want to have to wait for another at night when they are few and far between.
- Visiting an American-like grocery store in Ouaga, being overwhelmed by the options and hearing upbeat Christmas music.
There have been and will be more of these happenings where I will continue to ask “Where am I?” or “What is this?”
Training is over! Currently I’m in Banfora, but I head to my site tomorrow. AHHHHH! I’m both excited and nervous! We had to take public transportation from Ouaga to Banfora, but a Peace Corps driver is meeting us in the morning and taking me and another PCV to our sites. Saying goodbye to our host families was sad, but we will hopefully be able to visit sometime. My host dad has already called me a couple of times just to see how I’m doing. Such a sweet man!
Swear-In number two was a success. We had the ceremony at the U.S. Ambassador’s house this past Friday. I was asked to give a thank you speech in Jula, one of Burkina Faso’s national languages. We also had speeches in French, Mooré, Dagara and Lélé, all given by fellow PCVs. The ceremony went quick, but was great. There was a live traditional band and a trio of current PCVs played the U.S. National Anthem. Sodas and cake followed. The eating then continued at our Country Director’s house where we had pizza, brochettes and homemade cookies. Later that evening we continued the celebration by going out to dinner and going to a few bars. I really liked this place called Dinero’s. It had pool tables and they were playing some great music from the 50s and 60s. We ended the night by dancin it up at the Majestic.
I didn’t sleep that night because I had to be up early to catch the bus. Luckily though the bus we took was nice enough to where I was able to pass out a while. I’ve been able to hang out a bit with some volunteers that are in my area. I think I’m going to like it down here in the Soud-Ouest! I cannot believe it is almost Christmas! Doesn’t feel real when it’s 80 degrees. Since I won’t have Internet for a few weeks I will wish you all a Merry Christmas now. Hope you have a great end to the year and are able to spend time with those you love!
Joyeux Noël et Bonne année!