Monday, December 13, 2010

It was a weekend of holiday festivities here in Ouagadougou. Saturday night Emilie, Elisee, and I went to the home of our friends Yann and Carolaine for a pool-side Christmas barbecue. We were gorged on merguez sausage, carrot soup and grilled duck. Since it's getting a bit chilly here once the sun goes down (chilly meaning... mid-80's?), we opted to dance instead of swim the night away.

The following morning after too much fun and too little sleep, we rolled out of bed to host a holiday brunch at home. Emilie deserves most/all of the credit as she did all of the set-up and cooking, with me pretending like I knew what I was doing as her sous-chef. The sister of a fellow volunteer had just arrived from the States and held the title Guest of Honor, which meant that she got to bring bagels, cream cheese and lox from the States. We also whipped up scrambled eggs and hash browns and put out the remains of our most recent care packages from home. I was thrilled that I could play Mariah Carey's Merry Christmas in the background knowing that, if anyone were to complain, it was at my discretion to dispose of them. Only a few snarky comments were made, however, so no one got the boot.

No more festivities until next weekend, so it is time to hit the gym to recover and prepare for the final onslaught of cookies, candy and holiday cheer.

On an unrelated note, I just want to thank everyone who has made a donation to Friends of African Libraries in the past couple of weeks. Thanks to your generosity, we are well on our way towards reaching our fundraising goal for the month! We still have a ways to go, but are confident that we will get there by the end of the Open Challenge on December 22nd. Check us out on GlobalGiving:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Decorating

Emilie: Did you see that stand selling tacky Christmas decorations by the side of the road?
Charley: YES! Can we stop and buy some on the way back from the gym?
Emilie: YES! And since they were also selling statues of the Virgin Mary, maybe they won't try to rip us off like everyone else does.
Charley: Doubtful.

We may have been scammed a bit, but can you really put a price on fake miniature Christmas trees when there isn't a real Fraser Fir or Scotch Pine available on the entire continent? Our house is now colorful and tacky as can be for the holiday season. All that's left to do is teach Sadie how to pull a sleigh.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I haven't had a great internet connection for a few days, so this isn't my promised update about my parents' visit to Burkina or our trip to Paris, but I will do my best to get to it this week!

This is a quick request that you check out Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL)'s project page on GlobalGiving. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm now working with a small NGO here in Burkina that helps manage small village libraries. Every summer they run reading camps for elementary school students in several villages in Burkina and Ghana. To raise funds for next summer's camps, we are taking part in GlobalGiving's December Open Challenge, which is an opportunity for us to earn a spot on GlobalGiving's site, giving us access to huge donors and bonuses for our projects if we reach certain fundraising goals. Even if you aren't able to donate, just taking a minute to check out our page and sharing it with friends on facebook will help us reach our goal! Fundraising is not my favorite part of the job, but I'm realizing how vital it is to keep small NGO's like FAVL up and running.

If you have a couple of spare procrastination moments, please check out our project page: