Archive for the 'Volunteer Year Two' Category


Read These – February Edition

Recommended reading:


Data/Map Tour: Ramp Up to Kickoff

Remember when back in Oct/Nov I said I was just about to start a multi-month tour installing and training local agents on the software I created? Well, I’ve learned that here in Burkina things don’t always move quite as planned. The good news though is that the project is officially back on and I’m starting my travels in less than two weeks. This version is a bit shorter (more budget-friendly) three month project. Check out the map below for an idea of my future (somewhat crazy) travel schedule:

I spent the last few weeks at FAIJ HQ gathering all of its historical data and discussing new software features. The next few days will be  scrambling to get all of the new data in order, adding new reporting features and making sure that everything is in solid working order – not to mention wrapping up my life to not be home for quite some time.


Friday Photo: Latrines Everywhere

Each Friday I’ll serve up a photo and give you the story behind it. This week, latrine covers in waiting.

Improving sanitation by building latrines is an important and necessary task in developing countries. However, this particular project illustrates some of the standard problems in development work. Hundreds of latrine covers were made, but have not been used. Instead, for whatever reason implementation has been delayed and they have been sitting in this courtyard for months.

For more on why sanitation is so important, here are a few reasons from Robert Chambers.

…[S]anitation and hygiene matter much more than most people realise. Where they lack, the effects are horrendous.  Faecally-related infections are many.  Everyone has heard of the diarrhoeas and feels outrage at over 2 million children killed by diarrhoea each year. We hear about cholera outbreaks.  But  who hears about the guts of 1.5 billion people hosting greedy parasitic ascaris worms, about 740 million with hookworm voraciously devouring their blood,  200 million with debilitating schistosomiasis or 40 to 70 million with liverfluke? And what about hepatitis, giardia, tapeworms, typhoid, polio, trachoma…?


Scotch Washington

Ok, go watch this youtube clip from ‘Friends’ about Joey learning French.

You back? Good. Essentially this is what happens almost every time I say my name to a Burkinabé. A sample introductory conversation:

Me: Hello
Burkinabé: Hi, what’s your name?
Me: It’s a little difficult to say… Scott.
Burkinabé: Whaaaaa?
Me: Sc-o-tt. Scott.
Burkinabé: Haha, there’s no way I can say that.
Me: It’s not that hard, let’s try again. Scott.
Burkinabé: Pascal?
Me: What? No. Scott.
Burkinabé: Ah, Scotch.
Me: So close, but just drop that last ‘ch’.
Burkinabé: Scotch.
Me: Yup, exactly.

In the end I usually give up and just tell them to call me my Gourmantché name given to me by my colleagues: Yempabou (gift from God). As a result, I have resolved that one day I will give my future children names that can be pronounced in English/French/Spanish equally well (and has caused me to slightly resent other PCVs that have easy to say names in French).

And my lastname of Worthington? Forget it – it’s not even worth attempting for most. Thankfully, almost all Burkinabé know the capital of the US to be Washington, so I’ve adopted that instead.

The worst part is that I get this even from people who have known me for over a year.

For some evidence (on the first name at least), check out the slip I received in my mailbox after receiving a package:


Read These – January Edition

Recommended reading:


Holiday Season Recap

With my computer back up and running, let me catch you up on the last few weeks:

  • New business and health PCVs swore-in at the Ambassador’s residence in Ouagadougou.
  • For Christmas, most of the PCVs from the east – plus Chad, Tana and Celenia from the distant southwest – made it into Fada to celebrate. In all, a group of 16. I took a group to visit the sand reader, we had a great white elephant gift exchange (I ended up with nice coffee (thankfully not the fish bones or live chicken), and had a group sleep over at Luis’. Check out Chad’s recap for more details/photos (the below photo is courtesy of Chad as well).
  • On Christmas Eve, we headed over to Fada’s youth center for performances by local kids (we even performed “Deck the Halls” for everyone).
  • We roasted two pigs for Christmas dinner.
  • After Christmas I made a trip to the north for Post-Christmas/New Years celebrations, seeing big groups of PCVs in Ouahigouya and Kaya (plus a quick visit to David’s village, pictured below).

I sadly didn’t take as many photos as I  would have liked during the holidays. And though not having my computer (and forgetting my cell phone charger during my travels) resulted in me being out of touch for most of this time, I actually kind of enjoyed it. I had more and better conversations, read more, and took a break from my usual day-to-day routine. I’m planning on forcing myself to take some more technology breaks every now and again, though hopefully by choice rather than having any of my things break.


Technical Difficulties

Just a quick note to let everyone know that due to my computer’s fried power supply (a big power surge got me in Ouaga), I’ll be somewhat out of communications for the next few weeks while I wait on a new one to arrive. My cell phone still works great though, so feel free to call and/or text me.

Happy holidays to all – posting will resume in 2012!


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The opinions on this blog are only those of the author, and and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.