I’m still a Peace Corps volunteer! Feels nice to write that after the uncertainty that came with the recent (OK, ongoing) political unrest here in the Faso. If you’ve been paying attention to world news, you’ve probably seen the headlines: “Landlocked West Africa in Political Distress”, “Burkina Faso Peace Corps Orders a Standfast: All Volunteers To Remain in Site Until Further Notice”, “Founzan Volunteer Struggles to Make Sandwiches As Laughing Cow Cheese Supplies Slowly Deplete”. If these few headlines (some of which I actually just made up) are news to you, let me summarize the events of this past week with, as always, 100% accuracy and 0% bias.

The Burkinabe population has long expected and feared that Monsieur Son Excellence le President du Burkina of 27 years would refuse to step down next year during the presidential elections. I suppose after 27 years of not stepping down, a pattern was emerging. So when the ruling party announced a National Assembly vote on extending term limits in 2015, the population reacted accordingly by closing schools and boutiques around the country, pulling down Blaise statues, and setting fire to various buildings. When the National Assembly went to vote on removing presidential term limits, protesters in Ouaga chose first to set fire to the parliament building in which the vote was to take place, which affected the voting atmosphere rather negatively and prompted Blaise to go into hiding. Around noon that day, the military took up role as interim president and Blaise was thought to have fled to some desolate, God-forsaken place that would forget his sins, such as Cote d’Ivoire or Ohio. The next day however, Blaise showed back up and declared himself “totally still the Prez”, to which the population responded with a resounding “no ya ain’t”. “Right, sorry”, said Blaise, who then actually did retreat to Cote d’Ivoire in a Jaguar (the car) with sun glasses on, flipping the bird the whole way down. I should clarify which parts of this story really happened and which parts are my own embellishments. I’ll admit to a near 50/50 split, just choose your favorite parts to be real and forget the rest.

So Blaise is in Cote d’Ivoire and the military have taken up the president’s role. The last I heard is that elections will happen in 90 days and that the military has two weeks to give up the power to a civilian, but it all keeps changing. From here though, things look good: the Burkinabe are a very peaceful group of men and women who all have similar goals of democracy, unity, progress, and well brewed tea. I continue to feel very safe and welcome in my community and none of this conflict has anything to do with Peace Corps or the United States. If that’s not enough to keep you from worrying, here’s a short list of the real local issues I’m dealing with.

1.  Derek sleeping like this

he can sit and attract flies from a 3km radius but all I really want him to do is sleep with decency

he can sit and he can stay, but all I really want him to do is sleep with decency


2.  Fatao

ya can't choose your neighbors

ya can’t choose your neighbors


3.  Vein-y squiggle in right foot turns out to be worm

Wow this is so gross why am I sharing it on the internet

ok wait this is so gross why am I sharing it on the internet


10 réflexions sur “

  1. I know why Derrick lies like that. It’s HOT HOT HOT in Burkina – and it’s the only way to get cool skin-to-air contact to make having to wear all of the fur in the heat of the desert survive-able. The Moushe moushe, on the other hand, is sleeping away on the chair to the left- and not too terribly concerned about Derrick’s exposure or the heat. Be a cat, CPB. Be a cat. Great hearing from you – and I’m assuming this means that you’re not completely standing down – as you must’ve traveled to Danno to post? We’re thinking of you – and the amazing Burkinabe during this time of transition -with great hopes for the future – and prayers for their success in peace and building a free-er, stronger nation.

  2. Clay, give Derrick a break. After all, one of his primary jobs is to entertain you and he seems to be doing that quite well. We are so glad to hear that you feel safe and have maintained your excellent sense of humor. As they say on Prairie Home, be well, do good work and keep in touch!

  3. Wonderful Clay. I believe 100%. Regardless, even if only 50% is true, your news would be more reliable than FOX and MNBC and approaching CNN. If you really want unreliable information, our election ads would blow you away. Keep up this great blog and knowing you feel safe is good to hear

  4. Clay – Thank you! It is always fun to read ‘your take.’ Our best wishes to the people of BF during this time. Hopefully all will go well and there will be a peacefully transition to the next leader. On another note: You, my ‘phew, may want to try sleeping like Derek. Based on your Mom’s note, you would be cooler and …. it could be that having your feet up in the air keeps the worms away. That is not a fishing worm or a good idea for a new pet. Cheers and love! Aunt Wendy

  5. Here are my choices for what really happened and what you may have taken some dramatic license with.
    1. Prez actually went screaming out of town on a jaguar (the animal)
    2. Blaise fled (on his jaguar who apparently can swim) to Florida and not Ohio (I have people I love very much in
    Ohio, Florida is infinitely nastier).
    3. Derek is in actuality an very decent canine, with an off the charts sense of self and feels comfortable on his own fur. Social norms be damned.
    4. That is not a worm ~ because quite frankly I cannot bear to believe that is a worm even if it actually is a worm.
    5. I believe you are safe and loved ~ because you are.
    Always thinking of you Clay ~ every single day. Much love sent across the miles from us to you xo

  6. Sorry for the typos (that font on my phone is so SMALL!) …. if I were a perfectionist I would figure out how to edit them, but I’m a lazy perfectionist so here you go ……
    #3 Derek is in actuality A very decent ……. feels comfortable IN his own fur …….

  7. Clay,

    We have not met yet but I certainly love your blog! Your wonderful sense of humor and keen observations make for great reading (well, perhaps other than the worm picture…)! Oh, and the occasional glimpse of my daughter is much appreciated!

    Keep up the fine work —

    Elizabeth Bacon (a/k/a Rebecca’s Mom)

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