Rainy season/summertime is a wacky time in village as all the villageois are out in the fields and all the education functionnaires are on vacation. It’s really hard to implement projects because everyone is busy. Also, if you are doing any food-related projects (malnutrition sessions, bouille (porridge) making, etc) and you live in a Muslim village, they are observing Ramadan (Kareme in Moore) and do not eat during daylight hours. Because of the nature of rainy season in BF many volunteers leave their sites to work elsewhere/work at camps/go on vacation.
This always seems to happen in my village. I leave to go to Ouaga for work and people still think I’m going on vacation. This summer I went to MSC (our Mid-service conference) CHAT committee meeting (Community Health AIDS Taskforce,) Guest Speaking at Pre-Service Training for two days, and Camp G2LOW Kaya. I was gone for about three weeks but I worked the whole time.
There are also instances where you end up going in to Ouaga for one reason or another. Last year I ended up going to Ouaga at least once a month for something. Oh…I fell off my bike and I need to get x-rays in Ouaga to make sure it’s not broken.
Peace Corps also gives us many opportunities to attend trainings and bring a community counterpart to help diffuse the information in the village after a volunteer leaves the country. These trainings are great, but there are so many of them that it can be hard to choose. Again, when you explain to villagers that you are leaving for a training to benefit the village, they still think that you are going on vacation.
Even when I’m in Ouaga for meetings/gigs/other stuff most of the time all I do is work (writing blog posts, working on documents, researching stuff for my village.) I don’t sit around and watch TV. If not I do more work because I have internet, or I stay up late and try and skype with friends. I feel more tired after going to Ouaga because I try and make the most of my time there. It’s generally a busman’s holiday except with better food 🙂
And regarding vacations…I have no idea when I’m going to take another vacation. I’d like to do something after I take the GRE in February, but I don’t know if I will have time. October-March is the best time to implement projects, and typically after your COS conference (ours will most likely be the end of March) you are not *supposed* to take vacation 3 months before you COS.
So it’s back to village today…and then coming back to Ouaga next week to work and help out with language facilitator training. At least I will have working internet 🙂 and as the villageois say, ça va aller.