Saturday, May 24, 2014

Departure to Burkina Faso

So.... I decided to restart my blog for the summer of 2014. That's right, get excited!
So, this time I'm going to be writing from Burkina Faso-and I'll only be there 11 weeks. Let's be honest, compared to the initial installment of this blog where it focused on my experiences in Andorra, Burkina has got to be at the complete opposite spectrum. For yours(and my) benefit, I put a map on the bottom too... To begin with, a few very basic facts that I know:

1. Burkina Faso is loosely translated/understood in English as "The Land of Upright People". I think that is a fantastic name and I look forward to meeting the 'upright people', learning from them and getting to know a new country and culture.
2. Burkina Faso is wedged into West Africa in a lovely neighborhood with its neighbors being, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Benin, Ivory Coast, Togo and Benin. It is one of the few countries to be totally and completely land-locked.
3. It is an incredibly agriculturally focused country with almost a third of GDP coming from cotton-most well know is cotton.
4. The capital of Burkina Faso is Ouagadougou.
5. It is a true fact that Mark Titus Hoover learned about this country in the 3rd grade with his friend Ben and will admit to having memorized it for the map quiz by remembering the close-sounding word for beach apparel for women.
6. Burkina Faso has a rich diversity of different religious groups with a majority belonging to Sufi Islam, a minority being Sunni and a minority Christian population. Animism remains active throughout Burkina Faso and the country has enjoyed a long tradition of interfaith work.
7. Burkina Faso has one of the largest Diasporas in West Africa, with millions in neighboring Ivory Coast, Mali and Ghana.

I will be here for 11 weeks, interning with the US Embassy and look forward to the opportunities and challenges that come with living in Burkina Faso. I can't promise this blog to be exciting, to have lots of photos of cool things but... if you want to keep up with me, feel free to do so through this blog.

I thought I'd wait to re-start this thing until I arrived in Burkina Faso. I just arrived in Ouagadougou at midnight Burkinabe time on Friday night. Crashed pretty soon at the place I'm staying. It's a nice house with my host Matt, who is similar aged to me and here with DoD. Thus far, my first impressions are, yes, it is definitely warm, it's 11:50 am and it's 100 degrees. Last night it was 34 (~90) at midnight...haha. But,I'm sure I'll adjust; a little sweat never hurt and in housing I have AC so I can easily escape. Also, people have been incredibly friendly so far. Walked around my neighborhood and sat down with some guards and gardeners and all were very friendly. Need to get local CFA money, a phone and a few other things but, going to wait for a bit as I believe someone from the Embassy is planning to come by in a bit. I have attached a photos that demonstrates a) the extremely limited amount of things I have seen thus far and b) that I am lucky enough to have some super nice digs.

Peace and Love from Ouagadougou!

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