Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 22 - Washington

Today, we walked our legs off. Wow, we never knew Washington DC had so many hills, and that we’d have to do so much walking here! It seems that if there isn’t a hill somewhere, they’ve built a set of stairs or something else for people to climb! Maybe it’s the government’s way of helping its employees get the exercise they need after sitting at their desks all day :)

Each morning this week, we’ve walked a block and a half to the nearest subway station, where we have to climb a broken escalator to the elevated platform. Then we stand in a crowded train for 20 minutes until we reach our destination. This is followed by a walk of several blocks, mostly uphill, until we get to the SIL office where we begin our day of meetings and activities.

Before getting on the subway, however, we pop into a place called “The Dutch Touch Café”. Ironically, it’s run by Koreans :) But they make a tasty omelette sandwich that we order to take out. When we get off the subway, we head straight for a nearby Starbucks to get our morning fix to drink along with our sandwich before continuing on to the office.

This afternoon, we did two interesting things. First we went on a high-speed tour of the Capitol. The person in charge of our orientation has a friend who is an official historian there, and he took us on a special guided tour of the Hill. We decided that at some point in the future, we really need to come back prepared to take several days to do the tours properly. There is just so much that is interesting to see and do there. You just can’t do it in a few short hours!

The second interesting thing we did was pay a visit to the Burkina Faso embassy. The ambassador was not there, but the two officials that received us were very warm and welcoming, just like people from Burkina tend to be. It turns out that one of the officials was from a language group that did not yet have a written form of its language. When we told her that we planned to begin work in her language within the next few years, she enthusiastically promised to do all she could to help us, including putting us in touch with key people in the community and elsewhere. All in all, it was a very profitable visit!

Tomorrow morning, we need to get up extra early to catch a bus to New York City where we will pay a visit to the UN, to the offices of UNESCO, and to the permanent mission of Burkina Faso to the UN.


Laura Dun said...

sounds like a really worthwhile visit to the BF embassy - way to go! :-)

Mike Steinborn said...

Yes it was, Laura. Our colleague at the International Office said that he'd never seen such an enthusiastic reaction from an embassy official!