I am happy to report that we are finally in our host families in our new training city. Because of the evacuation and the work involved in locating host families, we are being housed like Noah’s critters, two by two. I have a great room mate who will be teaching maths (yes it is spelled with an s here) for the next two years. Her French, fortunately, is better than mine so she can help me understand what people are saying if I miss things.
We are living with a “grand family,” that is, the extended family of a man, now deceased, who had three wives. All three wives are still living here along with a lot of children of various ages. Some of the children are visiting with the grandmas for summer vacation, but I think some live here year round. I hope to get the family to make a family tree so I can begin to sort out relationships. The best two things are, first, there are several teen aged girls who have become more extra grand kids for me. There French is very good and they know some English as well. Two of the three wives speak French, but among themselves they speak their local language, Jula, and the most common local language here, Mooré. They are taking very good care of us. The youngest daughter of wife #1 runs a restaurant and we have had food that was sent over from the restaurant for several meals. They have the best food I have had in Burkina. We will be staying with our families for only half as long as the program would like, but it is better than nothing.
I am getting a bit better at French and am beginning to get an idea about how one might go about empowering women and girls here. Two other volunteers and I are running a small girls’ club for four sessions, to get an idea of how these can go with Burkina girls. It is hard to run a meeting when we all have rather weak French. The girls are patient with us, however, and are willing to help us explain things to those who don’t understand our very bad French.