Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ouagadougou what??

I just got back from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.  First off it is pronounced Wagadugu in English but spelled Ouagadougou.  The couple of weeks leading up to my departure I was telling people both in America and in The Gambia that I was flying to Burkina Faso and the typical response from people was “where is that? And why do you have fly? Is it far?”  Inside I just laughed.  I quickly realized I would say the same thing before I came here.  I didn’t know Burkina Faso from The Gambia.  
Can you find Burkina Faso??

Burkina Faso

If I was answering to someone in America I would explain it to them that it is east of The Gambia by a couple countries and a little south, sharing boarders with Mali, Niger and some other smaller West African countries.  If I was responding to a Gambian I would usually look around for a stick and draw them a map of West Africa and show them where all the countries in West Africa are and then show them where The Gambia was and where Burkina Faso was.  I usually would step back afterwards and gaze upon my dirt map and get a feeling of appreciation of my five long years studying geography in college and see the results of that. Nevertheless, I got my point across to two different people in different ways.   
Lots of scooters

I went to Burkina Faso for one week with three other Peace Corps volunteers  and participated in the ECHO 2nd West Africa Networking Forum.  There were 165 participants from 17 African countries, 5 non African countries.  We went to 3 days of session in the morning and then in the afternoon we would go to smaller group sessions on more specific topics.  Most of topics where targeted in helping small scale farmers and families improve their lives through agriculture. 
Burkina Faso's Bush Taxi
 The day after the conference we went and toured an experimental farm about an hour outside of the city and that was great to get out of the city and see some of the country. 
Improved Variety of Okra
Deep Deep thought...
Burkina Faso Top Bar Hive

An overpass

Overall it was great conference and I brought back a lot of information and things that I can pass onto other Gambians and other PCV’s.  

I wanted to make sure you could spot me