Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's January in Brrrrrkina Faso

It’s been downright cold these last weeks in the land of upright men! Quite a change from the uncomfortably hot, energy-sapping temperatures of months past. We know it’s nothing compared to the frigid temps and deep snow you all are currently experiencing in Canada and in much of the USA, but for the last several weeks, the thermometer here has been dropping to the unprecedented low of 14 degrees Celsius overnight, with even daytime temps remaining relatively cool. Our bedroom air conditioner is receiving a much-needed reprieve, and our living room ceiling fan is collecting dust instead of distributing it for a change.

However, this does not mean that we are now depriving SONABEL (Burkina’s national power company) of some much-needed revenue. We continue to make generous contributions to this important sector of the country’s economy, but through our hot water heater rather than our air conditioner. Believe me, those cold-water showers that were so wonderfully refreshing just a few months ago have a completely different impact now!

The Burkinabè people are especially suffering during this cold time of the year. When we were last down to see them, Pastor Emmanuel and his wife were complaining that it was too cold for them to even sleep properly at night, despite the warm blanket we had given them some time back. We’ll have to see what we can do about that. Harouna, our night guard, comes to work bundled up in a winter coat complete with hood and balaclava. With only the whites of his eyes showing, he looks (no kidding!) like our own, personal terrorist! And the night guard at our centre was actually wearing mittens when I stopped to greet him on my way home.

Even our fellow expats are complaining about the cold. During coffee break on our Centre last week, one lady was lamenting the fact that she didn’t even have a blanket to cover her at night. Who ever thought we’d need one in this otherwise hot country? Another person said that they had to use two blankets to keep warm enough. I said that I only needed one because I had a wife to help keep me warm. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I married her! But I digress… (if you want to know that story, you can ask me later!).

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