Almost anytime I say I traveled to Ouaga, it also means I was staying at the Transit House, a Peace Corps owned house available to PCVs while in staying in the capital. The 5 bedroom/4 bath home’s capacity is around 28, a little more than half of which are inside bunk-beds, while the rest are just mattresses out on the screened-in porch. The bathrooms, which wouldn’t be anything spectacular if not for our dearth of amenities at site, are amazing to us as they are hot running water showers, sinks and actual toilettes. The interior also features a large common room with couches and two large dining tables, a decent-sized kitchen with a stove and fridge, and a small storage locker area. We don’t have a TV, but there is Wi-Fi with a DSL connection (which is nice, but still not that speedy when 28 people are using it).
So why do PCVs come into Ouaga? Typical reasons include; work, PCV group meetings (we have a number of committees), buying personal or work supplies only found in Ouaga, using a computer/internet, or of course simply just getting out of village and taking a break. Peace Corps emphasizes the importance of our integration within our communities, so staff does its best to discourage PCVs coming into town (thus leaving site) too often.
Lately I haven’t spent too much time in Ouaga, but overall have spent quite a bit of time there due to my work at the FAIJ headquarters office, various work for Peace Corps, military unrest at or near my site, and a cultural event or two. For a time, I even earned the apt nickname of ‘Scouaga’ as I always seemed to be in town, though I haven’t heard it for a few months now.
I’ve learned to enjoy my time at the transit house, but spending time in town without much on the to-do list and/or with too many others can be a bit of a drag.
Here are a couple of photos of the wrap-around porch (on a low occupancy day):