Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year!! The year I come home has arrived!!!!

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been a pretty busy gal. Mostly with fun stuff - after school finished up, of course. So yeah, school is on break until next Monday, and during that time, my college buddy, Kristina, came to visit !!! So happy to finally have someone from home here on my new home turf and see and experience what I have been living for almost two years now!! She got to see my village, some of the south of Burkina, Ouaga, and Mali!! Mali was such a blast, and I would say it is the most beautiful place I have been since coming to Africa. The region we went to is called Dogon ('dough-gone') country, and it's north of Burkina about 90 km. I went with a group of 8 people, and for three days, we hiked up rocky, steep cliffs that were about 300 feet tall, and slept two nights up on the cliffs! It was freaking cold, by the way. But luckily we were all prepared with blankies, tents and sleeping bags. And yes, we hiked with all that stuff in backpacks, or strapped to backpacks. We had a wonderful Malian guide, as well, who is fluent in English and has definitely spent way too much time with Americans and other foreigners. I know this because he used the F word more than any of the rest of us. It was very funny hearing an African guy cursing in English. Especially in the mornings when it was pretty chilly and he'd repeatedly say "Damn, it's F-ing COLD!" with an franco-African accent. Attaining the Peace Corps objective of cultural exchange?? - check!

Here are some pics from Mali:

Another great time I had with Kristina was at a zoo that the President of Burkina owns, or used to own, or something. It was amazing! Actually, Kristina thought it was sad, but I thought it was amazing…. All about the relativity of where each of us has been for the last two years, I guess… but anyway, we walked around the zoo and saw giraffes, tigers, lions, elephants, zebras, hippos, monkeys, ostriches, turtles, peacocks, and lots of other cool animals. I tickled a lion’s paw that was pressed up against the cage while he was sleeping, and an elephant tickled MY foot with the end of his trunk. The fence had a small opening in the bottom and I guess he wanted to smell my feet. And by the way, in case you didn’t know, hippos are HUGE!! I had only seen their faces peering out of the water when I saw them on lakes. But I got to see their massive, full selves this time. They really are like water bears. I'll post pics soon, but I have to wait to get them from Kristina.

One other notable event of the holiday season was actually on Christmas Eve. I spent it at my friend Haoua’s house (the same Haoua who was in the states the same time as me last year). But the special guests who joined us were a man who was a volunteer in BF back in the 60’s with his family and 2 of his friends! It was really fun exchanging stories and chatting with them. And really just being around an entire American family again was pretty fun, so if you’re reading this, Robert, thanks for spending that time with me and Kristina. I really enjoyed hanging out with your family.

Other than that, no particular news. I don't feel like writing anymore because uploading pics tired me out and made me mad at this computer. So more next time.

Happy New Year everyone!!


At January 09, 2007 10:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to hear from you again Steph! Glad your friend came to see you. Great pics from Dogon country, Tyler also enjoyed this place. Did your parents ever come to see you? Glad you are in your countdown year. We will send you some snacks soon.

Tyler's Dad

At January 19, 2007 2:48 PM, Anonymous Maddie Hunter said...


You haven't heard from me in ages. but today I visited your site again. I can't believe you are still in Africa! I guess I didn't get that this was more than a 1-year commitment. You sound like you are having the experience of a lifetime and I am so thrilled for you. You look and sound wonderful. All is well here. I use your bog as an example of today's online journaling in writing classes I am teaching. You are always a big hit!!!! Will is 15 and says "hi". All is well with us both. Love to you and stay safe.

Maddie and Will

At January 30, 2007 5:56 PM, Anonymous Risa said...

Steph those photos are amazing!! As always, I miss you guys! Have you heard how Tyler is doing?? (I see the comment from his Dad).

Hang in there!


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