We’re leaving for the villages on Tuesday and we’ll be out of internet access until November 16th. I’m going to be living in a village with one other girl from the group. The two of us are going to be volunteering in the library, working with the kids in the village, and making photo books for the village libraries. Almost all of the books in the libraries are from France and aren’t very relatable to the kids in the village. And, for the most part, there aren’t many West African children’s books anyway. So while we’re there, we’re making books that have to do with village life and West African culture – books that are much closer to the lives of kids in the village.
On Saturday our group helped out at a free medical clinic about an hour outside of Ouaga. Our primary care doctor here in the city is a Belgian man who works with the richer class and then uses money he gets from them to hold these free medical clinics around and outside of the Ouagadougou area. From about 8am to about 4pm we processed around 300 children. Each child had a urine test, an eye exam, and was measured and weighed before they saw a doctor, got medications, etc. Our group manned the urine test station and accompanied each child around, giving them the eye test (which was a little hard to explain in French and especially hard to explain when they only spoke Morre), having them pee in a cup, and measuring their height and weight. A lot of the kids also had plugged ears full of ear wax mixed with dirt, small bugs, etc. Some volunteers who had some training used a syringe filled with water to remove the crap from the kids’ ears. I helped out by holding the bowl for the water that came out of the kids’ ears – brown water filled with chunks of who-knows-what.
Our French literature class is still as hard as ever! We had a midterm exam earlier last week, which in theory wasn’t that hard but our professor graded it extremely harshly – not giving any points for a question if a verb was off and other nit-picky things like that. When I got my exam back I realized that he had taken an additional 20 points off my final score, and it took a great amount of convincing by our TA Louise to get him to admit his math mistake and change my score! The class has gotten a little bit better though than it was at the beginning. We discussed the Mossi fables (the Mossi are the dominant ethnic group in Burkina Faso) in the beginning and have moved on to reading excerpts from famous French African post-colonial works.
We’re all busy today buying last minute things and packing all our stuff up for the village. I’m getting really excited but a little nervous for our village stay – no indoor plumbing or electricity for over three weeks!
Talk to you all in about a month!