So I realized in my blog that i probably talk a lot about functionnaires, but I never really explained how they work or what they do.
At the village level this includes accoucheuses (midwives) infirmeres (nurses), the Major (head nurse) professeurs (high school and middle school teachers) Enseignants/Maitres/Maitresses (primary school teachers), Forestieres (Forestry agents) Veterinarians, the Prefect (more or less a magistrate)
Functionnaires usually have their CEP (exam at the end of primary school), BEPC (exam at the end of middle school) or the BAC (baccalaureate exam at the end of high school).
Accoucheuses can go immediately into training with only the CEP exam.
Most functionnaires have their BEPC and then go to specific vocational schools for their trade i.e. nursing training, teacher training, forestry training etc. They then have a practicum or stage at the end before they take their final exams. Usually the training centers are in regional capitals or in Ouagadougou. At the end of their training they are affectated (placed at a site). They can be placed anywhere, but a lot of them end up in rural communes like mine. Typically they live away from their nuclear families and live alone (sometimes away from their spouses) in celibatariums (single person housing which is pretty spartan). It’s like if someone did their training in New York City, and then was placed in the middle of nowhere New York State without their spouse . NYC is pretty far from Upstate New York City, and it’s not like they can go back every weekend.
For example, my Vet has a residence in my village, and also the regional capital, about 20k away. His wife and family live in Ouagadougou. The CM2 teacher lives with her 2 year old son and her husband works in Brussels, Belgium. One of the primary school directors lives with her two kids, ages 2, and 9, and her husband is doing surgical nurse training in Bobo-Dioulasso (about 9 hours away on transport).
In short, if you’re single and unattached, being a functionnaire seems just peachy. If you’re in a relationship…it’s going to have to be long distance, unless you get affectated near each other. My Major and his wife live together. She teaches primary school 5k away, and he works at the CSPS in the village
Being a functionnaire also means that you could be affectated anywhere. Some of the functionnaires do not and outright refuse to speak Moore. It makes it very difficult for them to work with villageois who do not speak french. They must work through a translator, and the villageois seem to respect them less because they do not speak local language.
On the other hand, my vet is Kassena and he speaks perfect Moore… and is able to work with the villages without too many issues.
So where do I fit in? I am neither functionnaire nor villageoise. IT gives me a unique vantage point to see how the village works. I speak Moore and I am far more comfortable hanging out with villageois instead of functionnaires. Why? because it seems that the functionnaires have a sense of entitlement. They want things, they want money.They want me to do things for them…the male ones can’t understand why I don’t want to marry them. Yes I know it’s hard living in village. I live there too. I’m glad to be not fit either group, it makes floating between them that much easier…It also gives me pull in the village that I would not normally have because I am an outsider, and not just a stranger to the village, i’m a stranger to the country, which means that perhaps the ideas of an outside observer could be relevant in a commune of 2000 villageois.