Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sounds of Yako

There is a constant buzz at the orphanage. It is alive with children
and laughter and screaming and singing and soccer games. Here are a
few of the constant sounds I hear…
- Sewing machines: Pauline (the seamstress) works on the porch that is
just across the yard from my room. She works sun up to sun down making
clothes for the children and other clients that come and go. I can
always hear the buzz from her sewing machine and the chatter between
her and some of the girls who work with her.
- Chickens: Right outside my window is the chicken coop. I can always
be sure to hear the chickens clucking and the rooster crowing at all
hours. Sometimes, they jump up on my window and try to peck their way
- School children- Across the soccer field from our house is the
orphanage’s primary school. The kids arrive at around 7:00
Monday-Wednesday and Friday for school. I love their chatter and
squeals. They play on the teeter-totters and the climbing structure
the most, but not more than the giant flock of kids that can be found
in a cloud of dust on the soccer “field.” Less of a field, and more of
a large section of dirt with two metal goals on either side, I would
say this is the favorite spot of the school children AND the orphanage
children. At all hours of the day, kids can be found playing on the
soccer field. Sometimes it’s only a playful game of “keep-away” but
other times it’s an intense game of 5 on 5. I love the banter that
accompanies both games. I can’t understand a single word, but it’s
always obvious when something exciting is happening. At 8:00 sharp, a
whistle blows and all of the school children hurry to the flagpole
that proudly flies the Burkina Faso flag. There, they all join
together in what I believe is Burkina’s national anthem and a short
prayer. I love the sweet hum in unison of their voices. At 10:00, the
whistle blows again, and the kids pile out of their classrooms and
race for the playground.
- Construction: Since I have arrived, there has been a team of men
working around the clock to complete a new dining hall for the kids. I
wake up to the sound of them pounding their hammers and mixing
concrete.  From 1:00-2:00 is the only time (when the sun is up) that
the pounding and mixing ceases as the men eat their lunch.
- “Music Class”: Each morning, the preschool-aged kids have their
class. At the beginning of each class time, they “play” instruments.
Usually, this consists of three year-olds banging on little drums and
shaking egg-shakers with joy and excitement. Oh, and shouting. Lots of
shouting. Shouting at the top of their little lungs shouting, usually
to the French song the Auntie teaching the class has picked out.
Sometimes, they sing their own song, and play their own rhythm. There
are times when I can’t tell the difference between the banging of the
construction and the banging of music class…

These are just to name a few of my favorite sounds of Yako.

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