Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's Real!

I have been saying about my Peace Corps placement that I won't believe it until I am on the ground. Well, I actually am here in Burkina Faso and not dreaming. All 57 of us arrived safe and sound after an uneventful journey from Paris. When we arrived we were taken from the plane by bus for a ride of about two blocks and then waited outside the terminal for about 15 minutes because the electricity to the building was out. The Peace Corps folks are very well organized and very happy to have us here. They took us through the immigration process quickly and made us feel very welcome.

Today has been devoted to basic organizational stuff. We were introduced to some of the BF Peace Crops staff, had photos taken for PC IDs, got American money changed to CFAs, and took care of other administrivia. We had individual meetings with the language teachers, the medical officers, the program directors of our respective projects. during the language test I was really glad for the time I had spent with Janet speaking French. I expect I will be placed at a relatively low level (some of the volunteers in my group have lived in France or were French majors in college), but I feel I was able to show the teacher what I do (and don’t) know because I was not afraid to just talk.

I had not expected to be able to post a note quite so soon, but The Dragon Hotel (with a Chinese theme and Chinese food in the dining room) has free internet, so I thought I should take advantage of it.

Monday, June 21, 2010


This is it! I am in Philadelphia and have just finished the last step in becoming an official Peace Corps trainee. We turned in forms and had about 5 hours of orientation about what to expect over the next couple of days and what Peace Corps expects of us as volunteers. Tomorrow we get yellow fever shots and fly to Paris, then on to Burkina Faso. We spend a day in the capital, then we go on to the training site for a few days. After that we meet our host families and the fun begins. There are 57 volunteers in our group and another group went to Burkina Faso a couple of weeks ago. The folks in our group will be working on health issues, small enterprise development, and the project I am on, the education and empowerment of girls.

Over the past three weeks I have had a great visit with each of my daughters and their families. It was good to stock up on a lot of grand kid time to hold me over until they come visit me in Burkina Faso. I will probably not be able to post again for a week or so, but should have more to say about the county and program at that time.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Farewell to Cleveland

My I’m off to the Peace Corps party on Sunday, May 30, was everything I could have hoped for. Friends came from far and wide, including Wellington and Elyria. My nephew and his sweetheart came up from Cincinnati, and my daughter Janet came from Maryland to lend a hand with the preparations. Former students, friends from Plymouth Church, JCU faculty, and many folks from the dance community were also there. The food was good, and plentiful, as it always is at potlucks. Mud in Yer Eye provided their great music for dancing. We rotated calling of contra dances among Kathy, Margaret, Kenny, and Mora and a great time was had by all. The pictures above tell the story. Check out the one of me waltzing with Janet to Jan’s Waltz by Chris Karr. Thanks to everybody who contributed to making this the party I had dreamed of. What a great send off!