Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sorry for the Silence!

I must apologize for the paucity of blog postings over the past month. In fact, I was amazed to realize that I never managed to write even one post for the month of May! I got swamped with administrative responsibilities, a personal situation that took a lot of my time and energy, and an intensive leadership development workshop in BC. Something had to give and it ended up being the blog :/

So the rainy season has finally started in earnest here in Ouaga. Consequently, we’re enjoying some cooler temperatures, but getting less sleep (rain pounding on a tin roof has a tendency to keep me awake) and having to deal with increasingly messy roads. This morning as we were driving to work, trying to decide whether or not to go through some of those big puddles or around them (you can’t really tell how deep they are until it’s too late), I pointed out to Kathy that back in Canada, things feel clean after a rain. Not so here. Too much garbage everywhere. The environmental movement has not reached Burkina yet. They’ve got bigger things to worry about, like trying to make ends meet.

This week, we received a note from our guards asking for money for food. It’s that time of the year between the end of food stocks from last year’s harvest and the new crops that are being planted when prices go up. The night guard had asked me to begin taking a certain amount of money off his paycheque each month (starting this past month) to go towards the purchase of a moto. So I just turned around and gave him his savings back. I don’t think he was too happy about it. I think he thought I’d just give him money out of my pocket as a gift to buy food and he could continue to keep saving for a moto too. We’ve evidently got some cross-cultural differences at work here.

Last weekend was graduation time for the students of the International School of Ouagadougou. Several of our colleagues had kids graduating, so we went to the grad ceremony to share in the occasion. Believe it or not, Kathy & I ended up briefly meeting the wife of the president of Burkina Faso. Mme Chantal Compaoré came walking down the aisle on her way out of the building and stopped to shake our hands. No, she didn’t know us. We just happened to be in her way. Her bodyguards were pushing people back, but we had nowhere to go. Sometimes there are silver linings to having your back up against a wall :)

Well, I’ve still got a bunch of admin stuff waiting for me to do, so I’d better get back at it. Until next time!

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