Sorry Tory

A few weeks ago, I spent some time looking through my old blog posts.  I was searching for entries to include in a portfolio for a graduate program that I’m applying to.  It’s kind of an ethereal experience to read back on your thoughts a year, two years ago.  And it’s so easy to get caught up in your life and lose sight of why you’re doing what you’re doing or what it is you’re even working towards.  Or what decisions led you to where you are now. 

My first entry was back in April 2011, almost two and a half years ago.  Continue reading

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Happy 2014!

I just wanted to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2014.  I have a few blog posts coming your way, but in the meantime here are a couple of pictures from Devin and Alex’s trip to Burkina Faso. Continue reading

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Three Men and a Baby

With the fifth highest birthrate in the world, about 6 children per woman, it’s no surprise that there seems to be babies everywhere in Burkina Faso.  Perhaps that’s underlying rationale, simply the high baby density, that I find the men in Burkina Faso to be uncharacteristically comfortable and natural with infants and small children.  From workingmen to teenagers to the elderly, the men of Burkina Faso effortlessly engage with children of all ages.  I commonly see men playing with roaming kids while drinking tea, or adolescent boys calming crying toddlers, or old men watching over babies.

Though I noticed this trend early in my service, it isn’t until my experience working at CDN that I really began to realize how different men’s attitudes towards children are. Continue reading

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C’est pas facile

Sometimes it really isn’t easy.  “C’est pas facile” is one of the most common catch phrases here in Burkina Faso.  It’s really supposed to be “ce n’est pas facile”, but here, it is common parlance (that’s for you R) to drop the “ne” part of the proper “ne…pas” negation combination.  Anyway after today, that’s the only phrase I can conjure up.  For the past week I’ve been battling one of the worst colds of my life.  Well apparently I have a sinus infection, according to my doctor, and evidenced by the fact that I can’t chew my food because my teeth are aching, my face hurts to the touch, and it feels like my eye balls are going to pop out anytime I flip my head over to gather my hair up for a ponytail.

It took me about three hours to gather up the energy to bike over to the mayor’s office this morning to pirate their relatively speedy wifi.  Continue reading

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Life in Burkina

In just a few days, I will be celebrating my one year mark as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso.  Here’s a short video about my experience so far.  Enjoy!

August and Everything After

It’s been quite a while since my last post, so here are a few things that I’ve been up to over the last six weeks or so.

I started off August by winding down a beautiful trip to southern Spain and Paris with some of my most favorite people.  It was such a wonderful break and I came back to Burkina rested and recharged.

Back in Burkina, I’ve been working a lot with the Peace Corps administration on redesigning the project framework, creating lesson plans, and designing monitoring and evaluation tools for the Community Economic Development program.  Continue reading

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It’s not all that different

I know most of my blog posts so far have been focused on the cultural differences between the United States and Burkina or at least my own culture shock, but I recently had a few mundane experiences that made me chuckle a bit and realize how similar we all are. Here are a few anecdotes:

• I was at my counterpart’s house a few nights ago and we started talking about children and marriage.   Continue reading

b-school or, er, d-school?

A college professor of mine once told me that the difference between majoring in economics and majoring in business is that economics was a field that taught you how to think, rather than a field that just taught you things. I figured that I could learn the things I needed to know for my job on the job. However, over the past few years, I’ve been thinking about graduate school and my future career and realized that there were some hard skills or “things” that I needed to learn in order to be successful down the line in the field I’m interested in pursuing. And that’s how I ended up where I am today; Continue reading

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The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Last Friday, I went with Francois to Farba, a village about 30 kilometers from Reo. Now that I’ve been granted moto privileges, I am able to participate in my organization’s work much more actively.

We went to Farba to oversee and monitor the progress of a savings club and their microloan repayment rates. Although the meeting was terribly frustrating for a number of reasons, primarily due to the group’s size, over 100 women, and the group’s complete lack of organization, it was definitely a rewarding experience. After reviewing their records and painstakingly reconciling their books, Francois patiently explained to the group again how important it was for each member to contribute to the savings club each on time and how important it is to keep clear records.

After the formal part of the meeting was over, we talked about what I’m doing here as a volunteer, what concerns the village had, and what needs they would like to have addressed. Continue reading

What’s in Kelly’s Belly?

Here’s a quick run-down of what’s in my belly these days…

Breakfast: Now that it’s the middle of hot season, I have been buying cold yogurt and iced coffee each morning.  Although it’s a bit pricey, I’m not really into making coffee in my house when it’s 110 degrees.  Not having caffeine in the mornings might push me over the edge, and let’s face it, I’ve spent the last six months teetering on the precipice.

breakfast

Lunch: Typically my largest meal of the day, I usually eat a plate of rice with sauce or benga for lunch.  Benga is simply Continue reading

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