Burkina Faso: The Country of Honest Men (Day 890)

That’s what “Burkina Faso” means in one of the local languages.  Cool, eh?

If you like that name, you will love the name of the capital city:  Ouagadougou! (Did somebody buy too many vowels?).  To pronouce this one, think “Wagadugu” with a long ‘a’ sound, as in “father”, and a long ‘u’ sound, as in “due.”  You should try saying it with me one time, it’s super fun.  Maybe you are in the office and people will hear you and think you’re nuts, but don’t worry about it.  Ready?  One, two, three… Ouagadougou.  Ahh.  Didn’t that just bring a smile to your face?  It does for me, every time.

The coolest name for a capital city ever.  (Nevermind that the sign is falling apart, this is Africa.)
Although people here generally speak their local language in the streets, the official language is French.  So, most people in the cities speak it as a second language.  And so do I.  I am once again reminded how being able to speak one the local languages really makes travelling better.  I was recently in the Middle East and Horn of Africa where I spoke none of the languages, and of course I got along just fine, but this is better.  I can read the signs, read the menu, talk to anybody and everybody on the street (huge), get directions, etc.

For example, I saw a guy walking around with 9 or 10 dead rats on a string (what the hell??).  Because this guy and I have a language in common, I could ask him what in the world was going on.  What I hadn’t noticed was that in his other hand he was carrying many packages of rat poison for sale.  The dead rats were a demonstration of the effectiveness of his product.  “My stuff is so good, look how many rats I have killed already!”  That’s genius marketing if you ask me.  Anyway, if this guy and I didn’t share a language, I would never have had the privilege of this conversation :)

Burkina Faso marks the happy return of street food back in my life.  For some reason, there isn’t any in Ethiopia.  But, here there is an abundance.  Few things bring a smile to my face like the sight of unrecognizable meat being grilled in the street!  yumm…

Here is something that’s not street food.  This simmered stew with chicken and vegetables is called “kedjenou”.  Or, as I like to call it, “goodness.”

What else can I tell you about this country?  Live music is big here.  I watch a live concert every night and I love it.  You should see these West African guys drumming, it’s crazy!

Dancing is also big.  For a few reasons, I stick out like a sore thumb on the dance floor here.  One is that I’m a terrible dancer.  I have been cutting a rug all over the planet, and I have yet to find a place where my moves are in.  (Although this never stops me.)  I don’t move my hips enough in Latin America, don’t shake my shoulders fast enough in Ethiopia, and now I have no rythm in West Africa.  I can’t win.

Btw, it’s hot here.  Damn hot.  It’s 42 degrees (108 for my farenheit-inclined friends) and I’m slowly melting.  To combat this, I am hitting the ice cream — hard.  Several times per day.  I don’t know the owner of the local ice cream shop, but I’m pretty sure I am putting his kids through college.

The mosque in Bobo-Dioulasso is made of mud.  Pretty impressive.  (Power lines photoshop’d out by MH, much better)

In the foreground an African woman is walking with who-knows-what-all on her head, as is common here.  The women balance impossible loads on their heads… and can still look both ways before crossing the street.

That’s all from Burkina Faso.  I’m going West.

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4 Responses to Burkina Faso: The Country of Honest Men (Day 890)

  1. Pingback: Summary and Best Of: Europe, the Middle East, and Africa | Shawn Was Here

  2. sindhu says:

    you are my hero shown. i am a 40year old mom of tif i can figure out a way of doing this with them… id do it! inspiring!! thank you…wo kids n

  3. Anonymous says:

    woooow <3

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