Monday, May 14, 2007

ado and adieu

Clay LaPoint, PCT
S/c Corps de la Paix
01 B.P. 6031
Ouagadougou 01, Burkina Faso

Hey everyone, this will be my address (or at least the place I receive mail) during the three months of training that precedes my work. Remember that mail takes a bit of time both ways, so don't be worried if your mailbox is short a letter the week after you send one; it will take 3 to 4 weeks each way. I'll make another blog before I leave explaining the best way to send letters and packages, but as far as I know DHL is the best way to send essential documents. Also, don't send any money or valuable items, as those have a tendency to get stolen. That's the wonderful thing about letters - they will be priceless to me but worthless to someone else. On the first page, please number each letter so that I'll know if I miss one. That way you won't think I'm insensitive for failing to ask about your broken car or hated job. Also regarding communication, I just talked with someone already in Burkina who told me that, during training, I'll have access to the internet at 3 or 4 internet cafes around the city, excluding Sundays. And after my first three months of training, there will be internet cafes in my region that I'll be able to visit 3 or 4 times a month. I really can't wait to hear from you all through email, letter, or the occasional phone call. It will make everything less irremeable.

My general timeframe:
June 3rd - 5th will be spent in Philadelphia, meeting with other volunteers.
June 6th - August or September will be spent in Ouahigouya (I have no idea how to pronounce it) where I'll do pre-service training.
And from fall of this year to September of 2009, I'll be working in my region. What will I be doing, you ask?

My work:
Volunteers report twice as many boys in their classrooms as girls in Burkina Faso. Talented female students are often dissuaded from areas of interest, and the growing number of school-age children puts a heavy strain on the tenuous educational system. I'll be working with communities to increase attendance rates, improve the quality of teaching, and increase the number of teachers. I'll be able to tell you more about this once I actually leave the state of Texas, but I'm excited about the job, and it's one of the reasons I decided all the way back in January to wait a few extra months. Also, I've been told there are plenty of secondary projects I can get involved with, including: HIV/AIDS prevention, malaria education, small business projects (including starting savings/credit groups), and many more.

Living:
I'll obviously send pictures of my maisonette (thanks Santa, Mom, and Dad for the camera), but I expect to live in, "a modest house constructed from mud bricks or cement blocks with a tin or thatched roof" (taken from one of my assignment pamphlets). I'll send lots of info once I have some. With food I'm once again short on information. I've read that Burkina Faso produces some of the best mangoes and papayas in the world. I'll update once I'm there.

Okay, that's all that I can think of for right now. I'll write again before I leave with specific thank you's, info that I left out, and a general farewell, but for now I'd just like to say how much I appreciate what all of you have done for me. I love most of you that are reading this (I say most because I assume someone out there will "surf" over to this site and have no idea who I am, and vice-versa, and that's just weird), and I wish you all the best.

p.s. April passed by too fast this year, and with it went National Poetry Month. Here is a collection of a dozen poems from NPR. If you think you might like poetry but have never felt it to be overly inviting, take a look at a few of them. The first one by Carl Dennis is Rockwellian in its syntax but gently provoking in semantics. Also, the one about Atlantis can't be missed. And if you still feel poetry is too cold to be read as often as fiction, or biographies, or the newspaper, please Google search Billy Collins, or click here for a link to one of his audio interviews. Happy reading.

1 comment:

Maggy said...

I MISS YOU!!
Ergh..today I'm going to the movies and I had to find someone to give me a ride because you aren't here.

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