Monday, 21 March 2011

High Days and Holidays

How time flies when you are having fun... and when you are nearing the end of a year in Africa. Hard to believe it’s so long since the last blog. Each pack of 10 anti-malaria tablets seems to run out quicker than the previous one…

So anyway a quick update on some recent highlights, which have distracted me from blogging:

The first weekend in March I went with some other volunteers to Boromo, the half-way point between Bobo and Ouaga, and renowned for elephants at this time of year. Justly so – a few kilometres into the bush is a purpose-built viewing platform, overlooking a river, where elephants of all shapes and sizes regularly come and disport themselves – and where cold drinks can be obtained while waiting! Luxury indeed. The hotter it gets, the more the elephants come to the river, and who can blame them.

We stayed in a ‘camp’, run by an expatriate Frenchman and his friendly Burkinabe family, reached by donkey cart from the bus station. Not luxurious, but welcoming, clean and comfortable.

March 8th was international women’s day, which is a public holiday here. For a serious reflection on IWD, try Michelle Bachelet. In theory, on this day the men should go to market to do the shopping, and do all the cooking – and this was apparently the case in the time of Thomas Sankara, the previous President. But less so now; I had a quick look around and cannot say that the food markets were flooded with men… It is chiefly marked, as so much else here, by fabric – each year there is a special fabric printed, and those women who can afford it have a new outfit.

This year’s fabric came in 2 colour-ways, brown and green, as modelled by two ladies from one of our partner charities. The Centre Culturel Français put on a show of the fabric from several previous years too.

The following weekend I went with some friends to the beach. Ah, but Burkina is land-locked, I hear you say… Well, the local beach is by the river, in a patch of wooded countryside some 15km outside Bobo; it is much loved by locals, and sure enough, full of people demonstrating beach behaviour such as picnics and splashing about in the water – all of course to the ubiquitous soundtrack.

As you can see, I am cramming entertainment into my last few weekends… and Holy Catfish, it is time to start another pack of anti-malarials!

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