Saturday, October 6, 2007


Hey there, welcome to Kampti. Sorry I haven't written lately, the internet in Gaoua and I aren't on the best of terms. This first picture is of me, I'm out in the bush exploring. But rain is a comin'.

I head for the hills, well, a hill, to find shelter. Halfway up everything is "shrouded in mist," "veiled in haze," and (to use a more personal description) the trees look like little broccoli crowns fresh out of the steamer, just before the carrots find their way into the packaged melange that is the jason's deli side of steamed vegetables (a good thing to get if you really want the california club but don't want to skimp on nutrition).

But the rain clears just as I reach the plateau. It looks like this. Exactly like this.

It's kind of high up, should I jump?

Nah, too lazy. I'll just turn around, scratch my neck, and smile.

The next day I stumble across the ruins of Loropeni, about ten miles from home.

Neat huh? I'm pretty tired at this point, so I head home. From my porch I can tell that it's a good thing I left the ruins when I did, night's on the way.

There ya go, hope you like em! Oh and for some reason I never got around to taking an actual picture of my house. But I took one of my desk. No idea why.

I can't tell you why I, when describing pictures I'm posting, write like a 4 year old explaining the steps one takes when making a peanut butter sandwich. For some reason, I get the vague feeling I'm an old person in a curtains drawn living room showing you my slides from a vacation you made the mistake of asking about. So I fight that thought back with childish minimalism. But in any case I hope you like the pictures. I love the area I'm in, and I'm really excited that I'm able to share it with everyone I like and love back home.

The last couple of weeks have flown by. School is starting up this week, so I'll be sitting in on classes and getting to know everyone a bit better. I've read some great books too. Dry by Augusten Burroughs is good stuff, as is anything and everything by David Sedaris. Also, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas by Robbins is okay, but not as accessible or rewarding as Jitterbug Perfume. Atonement is awful, don't ever buy it. Winesburg, Ohio is good but repetitive, so you can stop after the first story. Mother Night by Vonnegut (I can never spell his name) turned out to be really well done, a lot better in my opinion than Breakfast of Champions. I've forgotten a few others, but I'm loving the fact that I get to read so much. When I was a kid every so often I used to wake up in the middle of the night and then read until just before morning, when I stole an hour of sleep before Cheerios and school. Now I have plenty of time to do all the reading I want.

So what do I do for fun out in village? Well, I'm lucky in the fact that there are restaurants around me. My favorite is Le Prestige. I actually ran out of gas to cook with, so I've been eating out every day for the last two weeks. It's not that I can't get gas, just that I realized I can eat out 4 times a day for about a dollar and seventy five cents. Also, there is a movie theatre (or a place where you sit outside in plastic chairs and watch the side of a building). A guy comes around and you can order Cokes and grilled chicken from him. Each movie is 50 francs, or ten cents. So far I've seen two Arnold Schwarzenegers, a Jean Claude Van Damme, some french films, and french dubbed episodes of Two and a Half Men. So to answer the question that opened the paragraph, I eat out and watch movies and TV. Oh and I read and write. And talk to Mom and Dad on the phone.

I hang out with my neighbors and some kids that come around and want to talk. Also, anytime you see people eating here in Burkina, they always let you know you're invited to join them. Not one to refuse such an invitation, I usually drink tea three or four times a day with various villagers including, but not limited to: the guy I buy phone cards from, the woman I buy bananas from, the kids I buy milk from, the woman I buy beans from, the guy I go biking with, the local military officer, the school teacher, the guy I buy bread from, and the guy I buy eggs from.

Speaking of all this food, I have a bit of an appetite. See you all not soon enough, Clay.


Rachel said...

All I can say is it's a good thing you have people to buy stuff from or you would never have a social life!!!! the pictures are beautiful...but who is that skinny guy who keeps showing up in them?! Care packages on the way with lots of fatty stuff!!!! Love you!

Maggy said...

drill team is thinking of hosting some sort of valentines day project for y'all..i dont know whether or not i've told you that already. Sounds like you're doing pretty good. I texted you back a few days ago but i'm not sure you got it. love you!

Tiffany said...

hey Clay-
love the pictures!

I'm jealous of you having so much time to read. Have you ever read Richard Braughtegan (sp?)? At Hannah's (of anti-Forest Gump fame-or infamy) suggestion, I read his novella Trout Fishing in America. It was pretty interesting in an abstract post-modern sort of way. I think you would's a bit Dylan-esque in that you get the point, but you'd have a hell of time explaining why or how you got it. I have read a slew of less than average books lately that I won't waste your time with. I'm thinking about going to Half Price Books and buying everything David Sedaris has ever written to get me out of my bad book funk.

I just returned from the southern coast of Italy last night. Everything about it was amazing-the scenery, the wine, the food, the men, the cappucino-you are going to LOVE it!!! (the women are pretty too-for your sake!) I only picked up a bit of Italian b/c everyone spoke English. Every time I talked to someone in Italian, their face would light up in recognition just before they launched into something that left me standing there with no idea what they were I decided to just smile and play the dumb American. Besides who really needs to talk? I actually think you become a lot more observant of things when you have to rely on something other than speech to communicate...

Anyway, I'm having a dreadful time billing hours today. From what I can tell the best thing about being a lawyer is that I can afford to go to Europe (or someplace else fabulous) every year!



Larry E said...

Clay.....Looking good....Terry and I enjoy your Blog....Saw Maggie at the halftime last Friday night.....looks like your Mom and Dad will have to keep the shotgun loaded to keep the boys away....I know how proud your Mom and Dad are of you.......Erin is still doing well in New York...she says hi.....Ty is hanging in at A&M.....looks like he'll be out in about a year.....First cool weather today in Pflugerville....Maybe Scott can relax for a while....He's been working a lot so he has plenty of money if you need some.....All the best......the English's

katie said...

Hey Clayboy,

I realized I hadn't left a comment when I wrote you before. Yes, I noticed your red hat Ben bought you this time around... I love it. You look like Curious George in a couple of your pictures... Take a picture of your house for crying out loud! :) haha. Love you!

katie said...

p.s. this made me think of you..It sounds like something you would do.

Grant said...

Mr. Clay
Where are the updates?

Phil! said...

speaking of appetite, i'm getting hungry for some updates, feed us or we'll look to our other african friends for our fix