Saturday, January 06, 2007

There’s a special promotion going on at the veterinary clinic near our home. (Yes, there are lots of vets here. So many people keep livestock at home that it’s a good business) A banner three feet high reads: “Protect your family: Vaccinate your dog – cat – monkey”. You just don’t see signs like that back in Nebraska or in the Haute Savoie.

Also seen on the Boulevard Charles de G.: A little wooden stand painted bright blue. It looks just like the typical place where people grill and sell beef kebabs. But this one is even more specialized. The sign on it is a list about four feet high. It reads: “Beef tongue, stomach, intestines, kidneys, testicles”. oh. yum. And get this: the first four delicacies are written in black paint, but “testicles” is in white, to sort of highlight it. Like it’s a special treat, or something.

The new ad campaign for the national lottery (LONAB) is on the streets now. The slogan is: “Another Life is Possible”. Implying that your life sucks so bad that if you win the lottery, you had just better ditch the whole thing and start over. Whatever. It’s not like you can win enough to start over as Donald Trump. Or even Donald’s housekeeper. Over the holiday season, the big LONAB campaign bragged that there was “10 Millions à Gagner!”. Well, 10 million here is about 20, 000 US dollars. And that wasn’t even a Grand Prize for one person- it was the TOTAL to be shared out in smaller prizes. Even in Burkina you can’t buy a WHOLE new life with a fraction of 20, 000 bucks. You could somewhat improve the one you have, but heck - you wouldn’t even be able to afford to buy a car. Nobody’s going to be climbing into the lap of luxury with a boost from the LONAB, even with a winning ticket

JP should be back from the bush today. He’s been out near Boromo doing fieldwork. We’re having quiche and tomato soup for lunch in his honor. (When he’s working out there, he lives on spaghetti and rice.) For dessert we’ll have a “Galette des Rois”. It’s Epiphany today (celebrating the visit of the Three Wise Men). In France, you mark the event with a special cake that is typically made with almond paste filling. Hidden in the filling is a small ceramic token- often in the shape of a king, or some other figure from the Nativity. You divide up the cake so it is shared between everyone present. Then you eat, cautiously. Don’t want to break a tooth. The person that finds the fêve in their portion is the “king” and gets to wear a gilt paper crown. There is usually a second crown so that the sovereign can choose a consort. It’s very politically charged, as you can imagine. You have to keep an eye on things so the kids don’t come to blows over who gets picked. Sad, how religion can lead to violence.

Some pals of ours just got back last night from a big trip to Niger and Mali. They were even up at Timbuktu. If they have any good stories to tell, I’ll faithfully report them here tomorrow. .

1 comment:

Ali la Loca said...

Happy New Year, and I'm glad to hear that things have settled down a bit for you in Burkina.

Look forward to reading more of your adventures as 2007 unfolds.

(And by the way, I really hope you don't have to lock down your blog because of weirdos! I've only - thankfully - had one weirdo in over 1.5 years.)