Monday, July 30, 2012

Happy Bobo Birthday

It's that time again - time to celebrate my 3rd birthday in Burkina Faso.

This birthday was bittersweet. Not only because of my ever-advancing age, but all of our friends from our training group are leaving. Soon they will all be in the first world while we continue using latrines in the BF.

There was one bright spot however - someone scrounged up two candles - a 3 and a 2. I was delighted that  I am not yet 32. Happy birthday!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Should I eat this grilled bug?

Ok, down the hatch.

And the verdict is....

Not bad! They could be served in movie theaters.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Future

Happy Anniversary! June 23rd, 2012 marked two years in Burkina Faso. We can’t believe how fast time has passed. At this point in our service, many of you may be thinking:

“Two years…shouldn’t you be coming home soon?”

Yes, we should. Our original end date was August 24, 2012, however, we’ve decided to extend our service until December 2012 in order to finish a few important projects. We officially “COS” (close of service) on December 5th, 2012.

“What will you do until December?”

The school construction project is nearing completion (the full report and additional pictures will be shared in a future blog post). The transformation of the school was incredible and the village is so proud to have a finished school. Thank you again to those who donated!

To complement the new school building, Julie plans to paint health murals to promote the newly constructed hand-washing stations and latrines.  She will also create a small school library for students allowing access to books and study materials. This year only 15 of the 60 sixth grade students in our village passed the primary school exit exam required to enter middle school. During summer vacation, Julie will organize study sessions with the older students to help them prepare for next year’s exam.

I am working with Siaka to build Marley’s - the new restaurant and campground in our village. Construction of the sleeping huts is completed, and we’ll work on business skills development and customer service until our departure.

My most significant remaining project is La Vie Chère - the upcycled shoe and accessory business. Moussa and I have been busy creating new designs and Ten Thousand Villages (the world’s largest fair trade store) has requested samples of products as a preliminary step to ordering. To see more new designs, visit the website and “like” us on Facebook!

We’re also preparing for SIAO, Africa’s biggest art and crafts fair, which takes place in Ouagadougou every two years. This year the fair is in October, so we’re finalizing designs and will be building an inventory over the summer in preparation for the big event.

At the end of August, we’re meeting Julie’s parents in Europe for a two-week, whirlwind vacation, visiting London, Paris, and Berlin. Julie and I will remain in Europe another week doing something, somewhere.

“Interesting… so what are your plans for the future?”
Last fall, I applied to business schools and received an invitation to attend Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. Duke was very gracious and allowed me to defer admission until August 2013.

Julie will apply to business schools (including Duke) this fall.

“Wait a second. You COS on December 5th and don’t start graduate school until August. What will you do with all that time!?”

We’re really looking forward to spending time with our families and friends! We’ll be home for the holidays, and can’t wait to reconnect with our families. Luckily, the timing of our return will also allow us to be quickly re-indoctrinated into American society through the consumerism and gluttonous eating that defines the month of December.

In January, in an effort to escape the horror that is a Midwestern winter, we’re planning a COS trip(s). We’re hoping to travel to Peru and trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and possibly Thailand to soak up some sun on the beach. We’d also considering driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in California, trying out Oregon wines, and hiking Bryce Canyon and possibly the Grand Canyon since Julie has never been.

Before graduate school begins, I will continue writing my yet-unnamed but future best-selling humorous travelogue about our experiences in Burkina Faso. The release date will be determined at a later time but in order to ensure its success in the U.S. market, the book may include vampires.