I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts during my time here. There are some really good ones out these days, and on top of that it’s very comforting to hear someone speaking to me in English after a long day of French, Dioula, Moore, and sign language. Even if that voice is Dan Savage’s screaming about sex and politics in America, or one of those really nasally contributors to This American Life, laying in my hammock and podcasting is often a highlight of my days.
What I’m doing now, on the other hand, would make a really really bad podcast. I decided this April I wanted to take one short recording (15 to 20 seconds) a day and share them on here to give people a little window into what it’s like to be in Burkina–short, audio snapshots of a West African Volunteers’ life. So plug in some headphones, sit back, and enjoy the soothing sounds of the developing world in the first half of this sound project, loosely inspired by the podcast boom of the 2010s.
Wednesday, April 1st
There’s a 5e (7th grade) kid named Pierre who comes to my house nearly every day. I like him a lot and often give him my mp3 player and speakers to listen to while I’m eating or knitting or whatever. He loves Beyonce but I can never get him to sing along.
Thursday, April 2nd
Derek panting in the mid-day heat of hot season. If you listen closely at the end, you can hear my tin roof cracking and popping in the sun like an old oven warming up.
Friday, April 3rd
What a 5eA class sounds like as I’m getting ready to start my lesson.
Saturday, April 4th
A couple Volunteer neighbors and I visited my artist friend Sam Dol in Dano at his display house in the Musee de la Femme. We jammed on drums and wooden Burkinabe xylophones called balaphones.
Saturday, April 4th (bonus!)
Ok I couldn’t help it and did some multiple recordings. This is on my porch late one evening with Pierre, Jean Paul, a Ouaga U English student named Armel, and my neighbor Abdoulaye playing Jenga. It’s Armel’s turn and Abdoulaye is the one saying « tombe! tombe! » (« fall! fall! ») as Armel tries to slide a block out and put it back on top. Jean Paul is offering words of encouragement and Pierre takes Abdoulaye’s side, saying the tower is definitely about to fall.
Sunday, April 5th
Abdoulaye borrowed my battery and solar panel to listen to music while building another house in his courtyard with family and friends. I went over to buy peanuts from his mom or something and all the neighborhood kids were dancing on the porch to this as Abdoulaye & co. laid bricks.
Monday, April th
What my cat sounds like as it eats my leftover rice. Actually this is gross. Skip this one.
Tuesday, April 7th
I went to the video club where movies, soccer games, and wwe matches are shown to watch some American Western b-movies. This is during an especially dramatic scene, and my friend Zacki walks in and says hi in Moore (he called me « Ahmed », if you can hear it).
Wednesday, April 8th
Turn up the volume on this one, it’s pretty hard to hear.
Wednesday, April 8th (bonus!)
Ok sorry about that last one, here’s a better clip. It’s of Derek barking at a camel as I talk to the owner, a Touareg man (Saharan nomad) passing through town.
Wednesday, April 8th (double bonus!)
Wednesday, April 8th was just so good. Packed full of short audio clip opportunities. This one is me at my friend’s shop with some kids. They asked me to buy them candy and I responded by saying « N bina bogo », or « I’m going to hit » in Dioula and then LIGHTLY tapped them on the heads.
Thursday, April 9th
Hmm I don’t really remember where this is. Sounds like it could be the marche, I can hear a « ka nene » in there from me which means « to taste » in Dioula, so I was probably at a dolo cabaret in the marche.
Friday, April 10th
This one definitely is at a dolo cabaret. It features my deaf Bwaba friend singing as we take dolo together. The guy can’t hear a thing but loves to sing and dance, he’s often seen in the marche with a tin guitar he made, playing music for other drunk Bwaba people and getting 100CFA tips. Fun guy.
Saturday, April 11th
On this day, m friend Frankie and I went to a huge Catholic celebration down in Diebougou. It was on a hill outside of the city and was great big Christian music festival with mangoes and tofu brochettes (if you can possibly imagine that). Here’s the priest pumping the crowd up with some jamz.
Sunday, April 12th
My bike chain needs greasing.
Monday, April 13th
Jean Paul comes six days a week to cook and clean. This is a recording of his arrival.
Tuesday, Avril 14th
Laying down to sleep after a long day of work.
Wednesday, April 15th
This is what neighbor kids asking for bonbons sounds like. I hear this noise dozens of times as day.
Thanks for listening!