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Friday Photo: Moringa Knocks Out Malnutrition

Each Friday I’ll serve up a photo and give you the story behind it. This week, Moringa Man and Woman take on malnutrition.

Photo credit: SookFan Simpson

PCVs dressed up in costumes at last weekends softball tournament to promote the use of moringa. As you can see, a healthy dose of moringa powder gets rid of that pesky malnutrition.

What are moringa’s benefits, you ask?

“Moringa is one of the world’s most nutritious crops. Ounce for ounce, the leaves of moringa have more beta-carotene than carrots, more protein than peas, more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk, more potassium than bananas, and more iron than spinach.” -AVRDC


SOFANWET 2012 Softball Tournament

Remember last year’s softball tournament? Well, I headed back into Ouaga last weekend to help defend our title in the 2012 edition. Sadly, we lost in the championship game, but the tournament was a lot of fun. There’s no other event in Burkina that feels so American, and it was nice to feel at home again. Check out some photos from the weekend:


Friday Photo: Voodoo Fetish

Each Friday I’ll serve up a photo and give you the story behind it. This week, a voodoo fetish under my neighbor’s front door.

My neighbor hasn’t been in town for sometime and has as placed this voodoo fetish under his front door to protect his home from theives while he is away. I think it’s a chicken, though I’m not sure. Either way, it’s a bit startling to look at and caught me off guard when a visiting friend pointed it out.

It’s often said that Burkina Faso is half Muslim, half Christian and 100% animist. As a result, despite all of the churches and mosques, it isn’t rare to see many Animist traditions on display (such as the sand reader I wrote about earlier). Voodoo fetishes can be found throughout Burkina’s markets, though here in Fada it’s the weekly Sunday cattle market where I’ve seen the largest collections of items such as dried dried chameleon bodies and an assortment of other unrecognizable (to me) bones. Apparently the practice is even wider in Ghana, Togo and Benin.


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:


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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.