My luggage isn't even fully packed and this experience has already been completely different from all of my past travels. In late January '09 after I turned in my application and completed my interview I received a phone call telling me that I had been accepted and they were placing me in the Caribbean and would be leaving in February '10 . Ten months later in November I received another call telling me that unfortunately I would no longer be going to the Caribbean because the program was full. Instead in June '10 I would be heading to west Africa. At first I was extremely disappointed because for almost a full year I had it in my mind that I would be going to the Caribbean, and I mean come on who wouldn't want to live there for 27 months!
The plus side of moving my departure date back 5 months was that I had the opportunity to move back to Paris!! :) Paris was a perfect little vacation before leaving for one of the poorest countries in the world for 2+ years, and the language refresher was incredibly helpful.
I've just spent that last 3 weeks back home in Illinois tying up loose ends and enjoying as much American beer, baseball, buffalo wings and BLACKHAWKS HOCKEY as I can!!
Tomorrow morning I catch my first flight, I'm off to Philadelphia for Staging. This is where I will meet fellow volunteers who will train with me in Burkina along with meetings on what we should expect, whats expected of us, and of course more vaccinations.
The volunteers I am to meet in Philly will be with me for our first 3 months of training. The training will take place in Ouahigouya (Why-ee-gou-ya), a regional capital about one hundred and eighty kilometers (around 112 miles) north of Ouagadougou, the capital. During this training I will live with a host family in Ouahigouya, this is where I will meet my Burkinabé (bər-KEE-nə-bay) “home-stay” family who I will live with for most of the training. I will have my own room in their house/courtyard, and will be considered a member of their family. During this training period, my family will serve as language and cultural informants, helping me really get a feel for all aspects of the country.
If you'd like to learn more about Burkina Faso, or even just find it on a map (don't worry I had to look it up too when they told me where I was going) check out this website:
Welp, I really should get to packing! I hope you guys enjoy reading my blog. I'm not to sure how often I will have internet or how consistent I will be on updating this but I will of course try my best!
Please e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org), write me, skype me (kristin.chantry), facebook me, or even send me presents. ;) Any way you find easiest to stay in touch! Your correspondence would mean the world to me!