Posted by: cgross1 | October 18, 2010

Life in Burkina

I have now officially been away from New Mexico for one week, and in Burkina Faso for four days. I have been enjoying the experience greatly thus far. Koudougou is a decently large city, though not in terms of the American standards of cities. There are few business “buildings”, and more kiosks and open stalls on the sides of the roads. The people in Burkina appear thus far to be very polite and tolerant people. When we go into the marchés (markets), we are regarded with a mix of amusement and curiosity by the local people. Many of them will greet us with “bonjour” or “bonsoir” (good day and good evening). The children here are adorable – they sometimes follow us around saying “la blanche” (white person).

We started our training classes yesterday morning. My day as of now consists of three language classes (about four hours a day or more) and a Small Enterprise Development class in the middle. It appears that we will be well-prepared when we move to our permanent sites in two months.

Tomorrow we meet and move in with our host families. We will be living with them for two months. They are close to the training center, so we will be with the families at night and on the weekends, and in classes during the weekdays. Our host families will be our guides to the Burkinabé culture, as well as being language aides. They will be teaching us some of the skills we will need in order to succeed at our permanent sites. I am uploading some photos from the first two days, which we spent in Ouagadougou. The last photo was taken the day we arrived at our training site here in Koudougou. There was a welcome ceremony, dinner and dance in our honor.

The opportunity to take photos here is rather limited, due to the fact that when people see you have a camera (especially children), they continuously ask you to take photos of them, and there’s no putting it away after that. In addition, we have to be careful, as we cannot take photos of certain government buildings and other structures. However, I will try to continue to take some photos, as it is beautiful here.



  1. Hi Christie –

    Glad to read you’ve made it and are settling in! I’m curious – are the language classes you’re taking all French, or are you learning other languages at this point?

    Looking forward to reading more about your experiences in Burkina Faso (and seeing pictures as you can take/upload them).

    Good luck!

    • For right now I am mainly concentrating on French. However, my host family is teaching me Moore, one of 60 local languages. Learning local languages is kind of guesswork, because there is really no way to know what language will be spoken at our sites. Moore is the predominant local language, however, at least here in Koudougou.

  2. This sounds amazing so far. I can’t believe you’re going to be gone for so long but I’m so happy for you!! Good luck and great health!

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