I personally left Tampa at 6:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 4th. Several hours later I landed in Philadelphia, and then was bused to NYC with most of my other Peace Corps volunteers. From NYC we flew to Brussels, and then on to the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou. (Wah’ guh doo guh) Over 20 hours of air time total.
My Thoughts After Landing
We finally landed in Africa; surprisingly my hips don’t hurt. Instead I am intrigued by a whole new world just across “the pond,” and how I’ve never known a place where BO was a normal thing and AC didn’t exist. I’m afraid there is a stain on the butt of my dress, so I carry my ridiculously heavy sling bag on my back in an uncomfortable position. Customs and Immigration are not bad at not, except I cannot understand a thing they are saying.
The bus is there waiting for us, along with the other excited volunteers welcoming us eagerly with huge smiles. We immediately get water because it’s ridiculously hot here. Finally loaded onto two buses, the driving over here is atrocious. People cutting everyone off, squeezing between motorized bikes, and people wandering in the middle of the road. The view is incredible, though.
Trash along the side of the road, homeless sitting in the shade, some people are dressed very nicely, others in mere rags. I was fascinated by it all. Such a different world and I was going to be living in it for two years. I get scared at this thought and think of home. My dreams are suddenly cut off as we pull into the “hotel.” This incorrectly named structure is actually a Catholic Women’s Nurses Convent. There is electricity, though, for which I am eternally grateful.
My suitcases are heavy, but a young African gentleman carries it to my room. We convene in the “conference room” and get instructions about leaving and rules. We get a primer on local customs and ‘do’s and don’ts’, and then to dinner. Dinner was simple but good; we washed our hands with water from a flower waterer. After dinner sleep is all I can think of after spending the last 24 hours of my life in a giant flying bus.
Zazie is from Miami, and she is my closest friend here so far. We have so much in common. She is really sick so she decides to stay in and go to bed. I am so thankful that I don’t have to be the only loser to go to bed now. Lol. There are five girls including me in one dorm room: Bridgett, Eugenie, Chole, Zazie, and me. I pass out at 8:15p.m. local time, 4:15p.m. Tampa time.