Monday, September 9, 2013

Observations from Burkina

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa about the size of Colorado. Currently, I am staying in the capital city, Ouagadougou (said Wog-uh-doo-goo) which is the largest city in all of Burkina with a population of 1,475,223. I've been here 4 days now and sure am learning a lot about the culture! Here are a few of my top observations: 
- There are no rules of the road. Actually, there are no rules which motor-bikes observe. In a word, they're crazy. They pass on both the left AND the right, even if you're turning! They run red lights. They have a designated part of the main road (much like a bike lane except it has a small curb separating it from the rest of the road) however, they ride both IN and OUT of their bike lane. Today, I saw a woman with two toddlers AND an infant on a motor-bike! 
- The equivalent to a garbage truck here is a cart being towed by a (get this) donkey.  
- At the street market, if you take anything from a vendor (even if just to look at it) they refuse to take it back, and expect you to pay for it. 
- Monkeys are VERY mean. 
- People use any land near a water source to grow their crops even if that water source is right next to the main road. 
- Don't use your left hand. This is the hand that is used to "wipe" if there isn't any toilet paper available, so it's considered "unclean" (and rightly so!). 
- At any red light, you will be offered to buy various fruits (mostly limes), phone cards, tissues and gum. 
-At the driving school/DMV/police department there is a board where they post pictures of all the fatal motor-bike accidents. I'm talking gory, bloody, dead people pictures. 
- The material here is BEAUTIFUL. Never before have I seen more vibrant, colorful clothes! 
- Tailors, jewelry makers and the like will make "home visits" to sell their goods. 

Well, that's all for now. I'm sure I will have MUCH more to tell y'all very soon! OH, and I'm SLOWLY learning a bit of French! 

Au revoir!!!

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