Thursday, July 12, 2007

Clay's Site Announcement: A Picture Book

It was the big day. At the training center, a buzz of excitement filled the air as the Girls Education stagieres converged under the hangar to find out where they would live for the next two years. One volunteer, Clay, waited anxiously. He wanted to live in the Southwest, but there was a problem. Only two out of the twenty six sites were there!

He waited and waited as the teachers and facilitators unrolled a huge map of Burkina Faso and attached it to the wall. It was time for each person to receive a site! Which one would he get? The first person was selected, but it wasn't Clay. Then the second, then the third. What was he to do?! He started to bite his nails, and fidget his legs, and his stomach knotted up into a huge ball of yarn! Then, after the 8th person, it was Clay's turn to get up. He slowly moved to the front of the audience and read a small description.

Here is what he read:
--Kampti is our largest forest here in Burkina. You will have a lovely view of the hills up and down into the Gaoua area, and you will see green for a long, long distance. Kampti has many Christians, but a few sacred places still exist. To visit them, you will need prior permission from the elders.--
Clay jumped for joy! He placed his stick figure next to his village, which he realized is a short bike ride to the Ivory Coast, and an hour's bus ride to Ghana. Also, when he looked at his map, he found out that elephant, rhino, hippo, and monkey sanctuaries surrounded him and his green village. He couldn't have been happier. He waited until the end of the ceremony, quickly called his mom to spread the good news, and sat down with an ice-cold Coke.
The End.

Hey guys, I hope you enjoyed my story. I'll be living in Kampti, in the Lobiri, or Lobi, region of Burkina. They are famed for making some of the most beautiful and important wooden statues in all of Africa, so don't be shocked if that is your souvenir! There are gorgeous hills, animals, and Dr Pepper is only a short trip away in Ghana. My region is the most interesting one I've come across in Burkina thus far (although I am a little biased). Apparently, during French colonization, the Lobiri people built their homes without doors and used ladders to get in and out of windows on their roofs. This way, they could keep invaders out. Also, grass grows on the roofs of the region, and during the hot months people sleep outside on top! The word Lobiri actually translates to Les Enfants du Foret, or Children of the Forest, so you know it's an interesting place.
Okay, another update: On Sunday I'm leaving for Ouaga, the capitol. I'll be eating cheeseburgers, pizza, Chinese food, milkshakes, etc etc etc, and maybe I'll have time to go to the ex-pat supermarket and buy snickers bars. Then, on Tuesday or Wednesday, I'll take a bus down to my site, where I'll stay for four or five days. Basically, next week is going to be sweet. It's no substitute for the Harry Potter and Transformers movies, but it's a distraction.
And another update: I got two more letters from Mom today. Wonderful. The few I've already received have been read and reread more times than I can count, and they've really helped me. Have I said anything about Grant and Bert's letter yet? I received it only a few days into this whole deal, which means that they sent it a week or two before I even left the United States. Those first few days were loooong, and that letter really helped me through. I'm not saying anyone has to write, but trust me, they do get read.
Alright, I'm too excited to wax poetic, and the picture-book theme is still stuck in my head, making any fluid or post-5th grade writing impossible. I love yall, and I'll write from Ouaga.


Rachel said...

Congratulations Clay!!!! I am so excited for you. Now, I will move my worries from heat stroke to a gorilla carrying you away!!! My immediate concern however is a little more American..... next time I see pics of you, I want that beard shaved and that hair cut!!!!
Love you much!!!

Keli said...

Clay...congratulations! It sounds like you are getting to experience all aspects of Africa. I'm so glad you will be closer to Dr. Pepper, too!

Maggy said...

haha, i'm loving the facial hair, and i love all the hair stuff you left here, trust me, it's being used.
a lot. =]

katie said...

That is awesome! Now I definitely want to go visit you since you are going to be in a beautiful place.. haha, just kidding, I always have wanted to...

Im glad I got to chat with you a little today... You are going to have so much fun next week!@!!!!

love you lots!!

Hannah said...

Clay! Do you need some nail polish in the mail? No biting your nails!

Brittany said...

First off, HAIR (and I just donated mine on Tuesday). Secondly, NAILS - if you keep biting your nails, you're going to get sick from the dirt under your nails and you'll be pooping tiny, live worms for months (Scare tactic, but it happened to my cousin). Finally, miss you and glad you got our letter!

Grant said...

I am extremely jealous.

Stacy said...

I so want to come visit. Elephants as neighboors oh boy!