The strike has turned into a gentle respite from the pressures of daily life. Lots of folks are home from work, but there are still enough small shops and stands open that you can find pretty much everything you need. The streets are not clogged with traffic and everything is very quiet, but not creepily so.
But I do hope that measures will be taken by the government to help their citizens face the current economic crisis. Just because the people aren't burning down the President's palace out in Ouaga 2000 doesn't mean they don't need or deserve help. JMHO, of course.
I am keeping busy with some friends visiting from France. Two guys from our home village in the Haute Savoie have been here doing a school-aid project and a training session with a bronze-maker. They've been running around Burkina for two weeks, travelling, exploring and making lumpy bronze things. Happily, they realize that their bronzes are NOT going to count as gifts for the womenfolk left back home in France, so I've had the guys out souvenir shopping for the last two days. They seem to have found what they wanted, which is good, as they leave tonight on the 3am Royal Air Morocco flight. Better them than me. The only place I want to go at 3am is bed. Luckily, they can check in at midnight, so I'll drive them over to the airport about that time tonight.
Never a dull moment around here.
I did get a comment on the blog today asking about wearing capri pants in Burkina. I'll go ahead and respond/pontificate here, as it's more comfy than over in the cramped "comments" window:
I think that capri pants and pants in general are perfectly ok for women to wear here. But I recommend that you wear them with a tunic/long shirt. The idea is to cover the bun/haunch area. Covered to mid-thigh is good. Dressed like that, you don't risk offending any of the more traditional-type people that you might want to interact with.
Now, when you arrive in Ouaga, you will occasionally see young women wearing tight pants and no tunic-type cover-up. Bear in mind that the elite Burkinabé are used to western dress. And lots of expats have no desire to fit in with the locals, so wear whatever they would wear back in France.
Also, Burkinabé protitutes dress this way.
So, if you are working with middle to lower class Burkinabé, it's much better not to set off these negative connotations of great wealth, out-of-touch foreigness or prostitution.
Certainly once you are out of Ouaga, you will have MUCH better contact with the villagers if you wear the tunic/pant combo, or even better a longish skirt. Or best of all, a pagne. It will cost you about 5 dollars and be SO worth it. I can't tell you the amount of positive contact I have with Burkinabe people, just by wearing this basic element of local dress. So think about it.
But if your job is really active or you just hate skirts, the capris will work out fine, if they are done right.
Now what you should REALLY do, everyone, is check out the latest post by Valentine. She riffs on art class and displays some of her latest work, which is FABULOUS!
I'm just saying.