Hello everyone.  Seems like a weak first post introduction but it’s the internet so literally anyone could be reading.  This presents a difficult task for the writer, aka moi (french for me, I’m pretty much fluent at this point), because moi target demographic ranges from grandparents to close friends to closeted enemies snickering at my Burkinabé challenges and my awkwardly clichéd writing techniques. This is part of why I have taken two weeks to start this blog.  The other reason is that everytime I come to the cyber café I get on facebook and gmail and get stuck responding to emails and chatting with people and changing my name on FB to my host family’s name.  Today when I logged on I had one notification, two junk emails, and an email about timesheets from my old boss, so let’s do this.

An average day in the first week of a Peace Corps Trainee in Léo, Burkina Faso goes as follows.  I am awoken at 5:30 am by a presumably semi-professional singer over an intercom.  Not sure what the song is called but the only words are « Allahu Akbar » so somebody please look it up for me.  I get out of bed an hour later and my family has been up since the sing a long making breakfast waiting for me, I’m looking forward to the morning when they don’t seem surprised that I can’t physically wake up as early as them.  I shower outside with a bucket (some sites have running water and electricity, mine does not) and they serve me breakfast in my room.  I eat it and struggle to thank my mother in her native languages Mooré and Nuni (she speaks no french), then get on my bike and head to the training center.

At the training center we have various classes, the most common being medical classes, technical training, cultural training, and language classes.  There are others too, and it’s exciting because you never know what classes you’re going to have that day.  Unless you look at the schedule they gave us last week.  Then you know.  I lost my schedule though so it’s exciting.

When I come home from training my whole family is there.  There are six children in the Nagalo family, ages 21 to 7 months.  The middle aged boys are always excited to see me because they know it means I’m about to break out the soccer ball (Aduna balls incorporated) and the ultimate disc.  I’m pretty tired but it’s always worth it when I muster up enough strength to bring my ball out into the courtyard and get promptly schooled by a bunch of 12 year olds.  This is when I get the frisbee out because Burkinabé children are terrible at throwing frisbees.  I’ll teach them how some day, for now I appreciate having one skill I can do better than they can.  Did I mention my 15 year old sister could beat me up?  She hasn’t yet but she could (and she sometimes looks like she wants to when I’m struggling with my french).

After playing outside I head back to the shower for another bucket bath.  My mother or oldest sister serves me dinner which is either rice, spaghetti, couscous, or to, all with different meat, vegetable, and peanut sauces.  Honestly it’s all pretty good, but I can never finish the huge portions they think I as an American require, and because of this, each night I have to explain to them that the food is great but I’m full.  They don’t believe me.  Sometimes I’m too tired to try to explain to them in french how I really feel.  Yesterday they gave me an apple with dinner and taught me how to eat it.  I was too tired to explain in french that there are apples in the US so I just pretended to have the first apple of my life right there in front of them.

I taught my family how to play the card game Uno and they love it, so now we play each night before bed.  It’s super hot in my room where I sleep.  My first night there I sincerly thought I was going to die of sweat loss.  Now I don’t even know if that’s a possible cause of death.  I told my family a few nights ago that it was too hot in my room so they’ve been taking my bed apart (including the mosquito net and net frame) and setting it up outside so I can sleep under the stars with them.  I pretend to protest saying it’s too much work but they insist and I’m happy because I wouldn’t be surprised if I did die of sweat loss in that sauna of a room.  The first time I slept outside it stormed in the middle of the night and I awoke to the sound of my family frantically taking apart my bed with me in it to put it back inside before it rained.  My whole family thinks that was hilarious.  They think a lot of things about me are funny but I’m rarely in on the joke.

I’ve got 12 minutes left at the cyber café so it’s time to go.  I think in the future I’ll do more pictures than text but this was a good first post to let people know how things have been thusfar.  Thanks for reading, thanks for the interest, stay well.

Nagalo Clay


11 réflexions sur “

  1. Clay, this is wonderful. Thank you for writing and for staying light-hearted as you get your feet under you, and always. I look forward to the pictures.

  2. Wonderful update on your beginning there. Thank you Clay. I would have loved such an experience as you are having, but could do without the heat you describe. Luv G’Pa

  3. Thank you for taking the time to write this, Clay. It is so good to hear from you, know what you are up to, and laugh along with you on this journey. I love how aware you are of the tender little moments and seem to enjoy them to the fullest.

  4. Been thinking of you Clay ~ its nice to read how you are doing and all that you are experiencing ~ keep the blogs coming!! 😊

  5. Clay, Your dad’s a friend of mine and he forwarded this blog to me, especially after he learned I’m addicted to anything authored by Dave Barry.
    Look out, Dave Barry, Nagalo Clay is right on your heels!
    Laughed out loud while reading about your midnight bed disassembly and the apple performance. Keep the blogs coming and keep schooling those kids in frisbee.
    PS: My French is zero so I hope I’m posting the right way and this message makes in back to you.

    • Thanks Ben, I’m a pretty big Dave Barry fan myself. I read his Guide To Life religiously in middle school and did a big project on him in high school much to the dismay of my English teacher. Thanks for reading.

      Stay well,

  6. Very cool to hear all this! Thanks for taking the time to write and let us glimpse a « day (and night) in the life of Clay »!

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