Monday, April 9, 2012
It should come as no surprise that Peace Corps volunteers stand out, especially in Africa. Our service is often described as two years of stardom, and I agree. In many ways we are treated a lot like celebrities.
People often stare at us. Burkinabé take pictures without permission or knowledge. Random Burkinabé frequently want to shake hands or greet me on the street. People of all ages yell and wave as I pass by. We’re regularly called Nasara or Toubabou (essentially translates to “foreigner” and is used on all foreigners -- Burkinabé and Westerners alike). Some kids even want to touch me – just to say they touched a toubabou. I haven’t had a real stalker yet, but I’m sure other volunteers have.
The only thing missing is the paparazzi and tabloid magazines. Host country nationals are so captivated by our every move that I’m surprised no one has created a weekly tabloid recapping PCV news.
Imagine you’re Burkinabé and walking into your local alimentation (small non-perishable grocery store) or street-side stand and pick up this week’s copy of Nasara Weekly. What better way to learn the latest PCV “celebrity” gossip?
Here is a mock-up of the first issue. What a great income generating activity for an aspiring writer!
Sorry U.S.readers - there are lots of inside jokes here, but you get the idea.