Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's Been One of Those Days...

The meeting with the ANTBA Director went well. We gave him a rundown of what we and the Kusassi had done so far, and he told us how ANTBA intended to approach things from this point on, which was basically the same approach they’ve used in a number of other projects. However, it does not take the Kusassi Association into account, probably because the association is not yet a reality to be dealt with. It’ll be interesting to see how determined the Kusassi are about this. I hope they persevere! Their involvement will do much to extend the impact, scope, and duration of both ANTBA’s efforts and ours. If an organized and interested local group does not feel a sense of ownership of the work and is not involved in the decision-making of what is done and how, much of what we and ANTBA set in motion over the next years may slowly grind to a halt soon after both of us are gone. Now that would be a real tragedy!

We’ll keep you posted on what happens next :)

This morning, John the painter arrived at our door. This is a young man that I taught to paint over 10 years ago when we first arrived in Burkina (I hadn’t set out to do that, but I needed someone to help me with painting the place we were living in. He picked up the necessary skills and afterwards started his own business!) We had asked him to come by to do some repainting in our Ouaga house. Many houses in Burkina, if they’re painted inside at all, are painted with whitewash (called “foam paint” here). It’s cheap, but gets dirty really quickly. We’re getting it changed to oil paint. Easy to clean and durable. But first, you have to scrape all the old whitewash off or the new oil paint won’t stick properly. If that sounds like a real mess to you, you’re right. It is.

The first thing John and I had to do was go and buy supplies for the job. Before we could do that, however, I had to stop by the SIL Centre to get some money from our account to pay for the supplies. While I was there, I ran into one of the Centre’s Burkinabè employees that had fallen ill the day before. He’d gone to a clinic, where they asked him to get an ECG and an echocardiogram. So he’d come to the Centre again to find out where to go and if someone could take him. No one was available until tomorrow. But he looked so ill that I offered to take him. That took the rest of the morning because we had to go to two different places in widely separate parts of the city and wait in lines too. It was after lunch time before John and I got back home with the necessary materials.

That’s just the way things go here sometimes (and in Canada too :) You go to do one job, but it turns out that you have to do several other things first. And sometimes, your day just doesn’t go the way you planned at all.

We’re sleeping on foam mattresses on the floor tonight. Our crate with our new “mattress-in-a-box” finally arrived, but we’re waiting until the bedroom is painted before we set it up. In the meantime, our waterbed has sprung a leak. Rather than wake up in a swimming pool one morning, we decided to empty it and use foam mattresses for a few days. This turned out to be a good decision in more ways than one because when we took the bed frame apart, we discovered the termites had been hard at work on the underside! Such is life in Burkina!

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