December Brought Travels, But No Snow

I have had a very adventurous December to say the least.

It’s added to my lack of posting, seeing as I was finishing up my first trimester, running around Burkina for IST  (in-service training), then skipped across the world to head home for Christmas.

The End of the Trimester
I am in love with Excel.

When I was sitting in that really boring Excel and Publisher class in college, since I had no choice, I was hating every moment of it.

But when it came time to pump out grades for nearly 150 students in less than a week, because I had to cut my trimester a few weeks short in order to run up to the Capital for IST, you really appreciate the ability to use Excel equations instead of doing it all by hand.

So I managed to give my test to both of my classes on Monday and have all the tests graded, handed back and reviewed, and all my grades in by Thursday. I felt like Superwoman for like 5 seconds.

In the frenzy of grading, and with the kids loving the idea of not having English class for 2 weeks because I had to go, I managed to take a few snap shots of some of my students.

 They all LOVED getting their pictures taken, and loved me for about 24 hours before I showed them all their grades…some of them were less than pleased, but I refuse to just hand out high marks when they haven’t been earned, no matter how much they beg because they think I’m a push over.

I felt my class averages were high so…I was pleased anyway.

In-Service Training (IST)
For the following 2 weeks my entire stage spent sitting through training sessions that are meant to prepare us to start secondary projects now that are Etude period is over.

The first week was spent in the Capital, and was just for the volunteers. essentially included getting training on applying to grants, doing admin and medical work, and working on coping strategies for struggles you can face as a volunteer.

The second week was for the volunteers and our Counterparts (homologues-in French).  During this time period we worked on planning a secondary project together that could possibility be implemented in our villages.

The second week also included some training on farming techniques and making tofu.  

Though I can’t say that training is the least bit interesting, it was fantastic to see everyone in my stage again. It can be a little rough being out in village by yourself, and not getting to see people who have some of the same shared experiences, and thus a degree of mutual understanding, so we all tried to take advantage of the last time we would all be in training together for the next 21 months.


Sadly, at the end of IST we lost another member of our stage. So far we have lost 4 people, for various reasons, but this one was particularly sad because she decided to terminate her service early (ET). She simply was not happy here, which is 100% understandable, and is now much happier back in the States. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

Christmas Break
Pitstop in Paris 
I went home for Christmas Break!

I was able to fly back with another girl from my stage, AND during our  7 hour layover in PARIS, we left the airport, went into Paris, and met up with another girl from our stage that was there for her vacation!

None of us had ever been before so it was so cool to get to spend a couple hours running around. We had enough time for breakfast, Notre Dame, and the Louvre.

I NEED to go to Paris again, and yes it is a NEED.

I had so much fun, and the fact that I could not only understand Parisian French, but be understood was quite validating.

  The States
I spent about 10 days at home, and it was amazing. Getting to go to the movies, eat tons of food, shopping for food stuffs to bring back with me, and seeing all kinds of family and friends.

My brothers came from their respective corners of the world to make it a full family Christmas, and we even had my Granddad over for a few days. Sadly, there was no snow this Christmas. It was oddly warm instead.


Me and my brothers
As to be expected, I wish I could have spent a few more days at home, because there is nothing like getting to spend time with family after not seeing them for 6 months, but I’ve got to get back in the classroom.

The Next Few Days
So now I’m heading back to Burkina, in much higher spirits now that I’ve had a mental break (man I hope it lasts), and school will start up again on Tuesday – since New Years weekend and the swearing in of the new President has led to an extended holiday. 

So basically I will be spending 48 hours in transit between flying and taking buses back to village. Fun right? I’m going to be exhausted by the time I get back.

Anyway, until next time!
Enfin, jusqu’à la prochaine fois




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