Q: Does Mayonnaise really have to be refrigerated? (clearly this question has been foremost in your mind)
A: No, this is a lie propogated by the refrigerator industry in the Western world. I keep mine on a bookshelf in my house after opening it, and despite the 90+ degrees temperatures, its good for weeks. This applies to pretty much all condiments. Dont be grossed out, its the truth....
Q: What does your work in Burkina Faso consist of?
A: I am currently in the midst of conducting a comprehensive Etude de Milieu in the village of Tin, primarily utilizing PACA tools and KAP studies.
Q: Uh...but what do you do??
A: I hang out at the CSPS (health clinic), go through old records, assist with vaccinations, and chat with patients that come in. And apparently, I faint at the sight of blood, when the mood strikes me. At the moment I'm focusing on getting to know the village and its health needs through both informal and formal methods so that following another training session next month, I'll be able to begin to actually do some "real work." A lot of this will be assistin at the CSPS, with vaccinations, and doing health education sessions on various topics throughout the community.
Q: What do you do to relax in village?
A: Well, my current tally of books read so far is 37, so I read a lot, anything ranging from trashy romance novels to Les Miserables to Keroac. Also, biking to the closest town to meet up with other volunteers and get a cold bisap (kind of like hibiscus juice) is always nice. We're entering the "marriage season" right now, so I danced up a storm at my first one the other night. They're huge village-wide celebrations with lots of dancing and music, so that fun too. And of course, I play with my posse of kids every day.
Q: You mention playing with kids a lot. Dont you have any adult friends in village?
A: Still working on that one. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that soon someone will walk into my courtyard and declare in perfect french "Je voudrais etre ton ami, tubabomuso!" (I would like to be your friend, white lady!). This has yet to occur, but I do spend time with neighbors and coworkers in addition to my little playmates under the age of 10.
Q: So you mention that you bike a lot. You must be very tan, fit, and thin these days!
A: This is a common misconception and a sore point for many volunteers here. Because there is no fresh fruits or veggies in village and the meat is a bit questionable, my diet is mainly carbs which doesn't do wonders for one's figure. The result is very strong legs from biking over the evil mountain all the time, but not much else, and a tan that only includes my arms and legs from the calf down, everything in between is still deathly pale, reminiscent of a Vermont winter.
Q: Did you get my letter/package/email?
A: maybe, but dont worry if I haven't yet, things can take a loooong time to arrive, but they almost always get here eventually. I apologize for not responding to most letters, but postage is really expensive for me. That doesn't mean I dont appreciate them though, I LOVE hearing from everyone at home, so keep them coming!