Hi all! I hope everyone had an amazing holiday, mine as I'm sure you all suspect was nothing like any I've had in the past...
Like I said in my last post I was out of village for most of the month of December so when I had to decide what my plans were going to be for Christmas I knew I should spend it in village. Also, my village is largely Christian so there were plenty of parties to go to.
I arrived back in village from Koupela on the 23rd just in time for all the celebrations. The 24th wasn't too crazy there were a few parties but for the most part I just went from house to house announcing my return from my extra long vacation and saying happy holidays. That night a few members of my courtyard biked into Ziniare for midnight mass, I decided to stay home and rest. It had been my first night alone in almost a month and some quiet time was well needed. The morning of the 25th I woke up extra early and biked to church with my sister and her daughter (to the right of me in the bottom photo). The church, of course, was packed with everyone in their new complets specifically made for the holidays. The service was a couple of hours and afterword we biked back to the marqui (bar) that my family owns, spent some time with family, had a few drinks, took some photos, etc. The rest of the day was like most others here, I hung around my house, had visitors, and helped my family prepare dinner. I wanted to make them something "American" as a Christmas treat but due to lack of time, funds, and overall motivation I instead just made a huge pot of spaghetti. Which on top of all the food my family made was more than enough to feed all of us...twice.
I was a little nervous to spend time in village for Christmas, don't get me wrong I love my family here but the holidays can be a rough time to be away from home and I was unsure about how I would feel. Come to find out I handled it quite well and for a matter of fact I had a great time. My favorite part of the entire day came at the very end of the night when I was just about to go get ready for bed. It was around 9pm and for about an hour I had heard music and singing not far from my house. I wasn't too sure what was going on but I knew that my village likes to take advantage of a holiday and party as much as the can so I figured they were all just celebrating at a house down the way. Soon enough the music was getting louder and before I knew it I had a group of about 50 in my front yard dancing, singing, and playing music. All in the best of moods partly because of all the dolo (local beer) they had been drinking (all day) but mostly just because they were happy to be with friends and loved ones. I of course stopped whatever I was doing and went out to join them. It was pitch dark out and of course I couldn't see a thing but everyone could see me (my white skin is not too hard to see in the dark, go figure). Together we were dancing singing and laughing, well mostly laughing at me while I attempted to play one of their tradition instruments. It was once of my best experiences here. The night was beautiful, cool, very little bugs, and more stars in the sky than you can even imagine. I was afraid to be away from family for the holidays but I had forgotten that I now have a whole new family here. My village. And lucky enough for me this night they were all here with me in my front yard.
*Most of the kids who live next to me, sitting around the Christmas tree
*Family photos at the marqis
New Years here in Zinare is a bit different. Being that we are so close to Ouaga everyone, seriously everyone, goes to the capital for a night of dancing. I originally was just going to stay in village but a fellow volunteer was having a group of people head up to his site, it was fairly easy for me to get to his site so I changed my mind and decided to do that instead. So about 10 of us decided to meet up in Yako. It was nice to be able to spend the new years with Americans and also with a group that I don't see all that often. Overall New Years was like it would be in the states, we went out to dinner, bought more drinks then we probably should have, and went out to a dance club. I've never been much a fan of clubs, especially here because you get plennnnty of stares when a group of 10 white people walk in. Well I mean it's not something you see everyday here, admittedly I even stare when I see a white person. :) Anyways we all had a great time at the bar/dance club and ended up going back to the house at some early morning hour.
The next day I was on a bus back to my village.
In a few weeks I'll be back in Ouaga and Koudougou (Jan. 17th - Jan 28th) for some more Peace Corps training where I'll get to celebrate my birthday! I'll talk to you all again then!!
All my love!
(Oh and GO STEELERS!!!!! I'll be up late here watching.)