The box is open

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I’m currently in Tanzania, where I’ll be in some training the next two weeks.  This isn’t my first time here, though.  In 2008 I was here for a study-abroad semester, and in 2013 I was here for some PGA training.  Before coming in 2008 I had a semester class to learn some Swahili, the main language of the country.  By the end of that, and the semester here in Tanzania, I wasn’t by any means fluent, but I could carry ...
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How does the hot sun cool?

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The sun in Burkina Faso is notoriously hot.  In fact, the Jula expression used to talk about how hot it is, especially at this time of the year, is that the sun is “fari,” which is a word that the dictionary says means “brutal, cruel, hard, mean, severe.”  And yes, it’s true.  Unlike in the US, where we enjoy the sun and want to be in it as much as possible, here we try to avoid it as much as ...
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Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

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These days I’m feeling very old, since last month I had my big 3-0 birthday.  It feels like I have to be an adult now and maybe even be grown up?  Crazy!  But even though I’m old, it doesn’t mean that I’m done learning.  In fact, I’m currently in Tanzania, where next week I’ll start two more weeks of training.  It’s on discourse analysis, and if you have a super good memory (maybe you haven’t hit the big 3-0 yet?), ...
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Update on house progress

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Last week I was in My Village from Wednesday to Saturday. I saw that they had made progress on my house, but the masons weren’t there working at all during the time I was there. It sounds like the progress has really slowed down. Yesterday the guy who’s like our middle man, dealing with the masons and the whole building process, came over and we talked about it. He said that he’s going to put more pressure on the mason, ...

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4 eyes

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What do you see in this picture? What does it look like to you? It’s the housing of professors at a prestigious university in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, where I trained some colleagues last week on how to do PGA (survey work).

When I first saw this housing, I was using my “Burkinabe” eyes, and it looked amazingly extravagant. Look at those huge houses and all that grass, and the fact that it’s by water, and how far away the houses are ...

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On Tuesday I climbed a hill . . .

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On Tuesday I climbed one of the hills near My Village.

But I didn’t climb it just for the sake of it.  You see, I was with my host mom and her daughter, chopping down some firewood.

But we weren’t chopping down the firewood for the sake of chopping down firewood.  You see, we were getting the usable firewood out of the way so that we could start a big fire with the trunks of the trees that had been chopped down, ...

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House Progress, again

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Here is the latest picture of my house-to-be, as it stood on Thursday (yesterday) morning. They say that it’s supposed to be finished by the end of April, but I sense doubt even in the voice of the one who told me. So I guess we’ll see! Thanks for your continued prayers!

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House progress!

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I thought I’d send you a few pictures to show you the progress on our houses in My Village. The house with the walls mainly up is Jen’s house last Wednesday evening, and the one with the foundation in place is mine that same day. But now that it’s been a few days, I imagine that mine also has walls as high as Jen’s does, or at least pretty close. There’s progress!

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30!

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Saturday was my 30th birthday. I’m so old! But I also realized:

– When I was 0, I spoke 0 languages.
– When I was 10, I spoke 1 language pretty well – English.
– When I was 20, I spoke 2 languages pretty well – English and French.
– When I’m 30, I speak 3 languages pretty well – English, French, and Jula.
– Hopefully by the time I’m 40, I’ll speak 4 languages pretty well – English, French, Jula, and Viemo.
– ...

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Addicted

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One time when I came back to the US for a visit, I brought some of this with me. It looks like a little chalky rock, and people here enjoy it as a snack-ish thing. Pregnant ladies especially like to suck on it. Some of you tried it but didn’t think very highly of it. My dad compared the taste to how he thought drywall would taste. Not so appetizing.

However, the other day I was ...

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