All the news, none of it good
First of all, Alizeta’s court case against the people that killed her daughter has been thrown out. (See my post from Sept 12 if you don't already know the story) From what I understand, it is mainly because the family did not have their own autopsy performed immediately. This seems suspicious to me. I figure that the legal authorities have been paid off by the so-called “respectable” people that killed Safie. Thank about it - no Burkinabé family of modest means would think of having an autopsy done, and how would they pay for it, anyway? Certainly, staggering under the shock of Safie’s sudden death , that wasn’t what occurred to her family.
I offered to help look into the case (not like I could do anything, but I felt I had to offer). Alizeta graciously refused, saying that she just needs to let the matter drop, as even if she won, it wouldn’t bring her daughter back to life.
One of the other women I work with, Cecile , had adorable twin girls just seven months ago. She called them Olivia and Olivie. Olivie just died in the hospital yesterday. It happened quite suddenly, so I wasn't able to go. When I presented my condolences, Cecile thanked me. She said that she was grateful for the Paper project that allowed her to earn enough money to take her sick child to the hospital. I was stunned. She told me that it made her feel better that she knew she had done all she could, that she hadn't been forced to sit at home with a dying baby, lacking money to pay for medicines or doctors. It took all I had not to cry. What grace, to absorb that loss and then go on the thank somebody for helping you earn money to pay for the medical care that was ultimately useless. The fact is, the hospitals here are not good and many people die here that would easily be saved in Europe or North America. It’s one of the least bearable things about living here.
All is not so calm in Ouaga. It seems that the Burkinabé soldiers are still very, very unhappy campers. As I picked up the kids at noon from school, the center of town was a maze. Many of the main streets were blocked off by armed soldiers. Tensions are running high again, it seems. They have left off demanding revenge for their slain comrades. They’ve moved on to internal conflict: the problem now seems to center on the discontent of the lowest-ranked soldiers. The officers live in luxurious villas (often two or three!) while the common soldiers are barely paid. In fact, their families have to come fetch a rice allotment at the camp every day, as the soldiers are not paid enough to buy basic foods. So, I’d say they have a legit gripe or two. Let’s just hope they don’t get out the machine guns and rocket launchers again.
JP just drove back downtown to go to work. He promised to keep an eye out and buy a copy of “l’Evenement”, which comes out on Wednesdays. Maybe I can get some more news. The US Embassy hasn’t sent out a warning yet, but as we all know, that doesn’t mean much. They don’t warn you until the bullets start flying. Or, conversely, they panic people for nothing. On the day of Hussein’s execution, they sent out a warning. I guess they don’t live in the same Burkina as the rest of us. In my Burkina, there is no anti-American Muslim sentiment. At all. It’s just a non-event. The Burkinabé are completely live and let live. Animist, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or all of them at once, it’s not a biggie. The risk of being a target of Crazed Muslim hatred here is about as great as that of seing Blaise Compaoré in the local karaoké bar singing "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag", wearing only a red satin g-string. Which brings us to:
The final bad news. The guest of honor slated to appear at FESPACO 2007 was James Brown. He's not going to make it, is what I've gathered off CNN. And now who is Blaise going to find at the last minute to replace the Godfather of Soul? FESPACO begins Feb 24!! Send me your suggestions! Maybe we can help out, here!