Wednesday, June 04, 2008

When I lost my spiffy site counter with the tiny flags, I decided to find another way to keep track of who checks out my blog. For a little project designed to keep my parents, grandad and a few select friends up-to-date on my doings in a foreign land, it draws a good amount of interest from people all over the world. By "a good amount", I mean about 30 visitors a day from places like New Caledonia and India. How do I know this? By using one of the many entertaining blog traffic tracking tools out there. I use BlogPatrol, mainly because of the satisfyingly military tone of the name- implying efficiency and vigilance. My blog is not monitored, it's patrolled!

So, when I finally got internet access again, after four days of being cut off, one of the first things I did was check my stats at BlogPatrol. And I got a big surprise- this blog registered over 100 visitors on last Thursday! For a blog that averages less than half that, it was quite a jump! This kind of an increase almost always means that some other blogs or sites have mentioned my work and linked to my blog. Very thrilling!
A quick search revealed that four different sites had linked to me within a very short period of time.

First of all, a freelance journalist living in the USA mentioned Burkinamom in her blog called " Global Wire".

The next day, journalist John Liebhardt published another entertaining Burkina blog round-up under the irresistable title "Burkina Faso: Level four culture shock". I'm now using the fact that he refers to me as "The ever-organized Burkina Mom" as part of my daily self-encouragement mantra. Sometimes it seems impossible that I will shortly have to get our family moved out of this house and all of our belongings on a boat to France. But hey- I'm 'ever-organized'! I can do it!
It is very kind of him to take time to encourage me, as he has his own moving worries. He and his family are off to the Republic of the Fiji Islands! So, I'd best not whinge too much about having to move to a place that only involves about 7 hours of air travel! On the other hand, Fiji looks gorgeous and I am a tiny bit jealous!
Best of luck to John and his family!

That same day, John's article was picked up by a site called Religion News Online.

And finally, I got listed on the short, selective blogroll of a cute expat blog from Hungary. Will wonders never cease? I know and admire a couple of the other blogs on the list, particularly this smart and entertaining expat in France blog.

So, that's the news on the blogging front.
As for RL adventures here in Ouagadougou... well, Mallory wormed her goats yesterday.
That was exciting.
And on Monday morning, I had both of our cats fitted with microchips so they can travel with us to France. Please believe me when I say it was not easy for anyone involved. First of all, it was nearly impossible to get the microchips! They are not sold in Burkina Faso, but are required if you want to import your pet to France. And in France, they are only available in veterinarians' offices. And guess what? When you send your sweet, elderly MIL to a French vet to buy one of the things, they won't sell her one to send to you. Yvette carefully explained the whole situation and he flat-out refused, saying we had to buy it here in Africa. I guess he imagines that Burkina is just like France, only with more black folks. He can't wrap his mind around a place where to power cuts out nearly every day, paved roads are rare and the vet's office is an empty cement-block hut decorated with faded posters for camel-worming medications. And this guy's unhelpful attitude is not rare. I have since talked to many French friends that had exactly the same experience! One person's take on it was that the vets are afraid that you will try to insert the device yourself or they fear that the vets here are incompetent.
Or maybe they are just plain mean???

Anyway, due to a series of very lucky events, our vet's assistant called me on Sunday night and told me that a few chips had miraculously been shipped in by DHL and I could reserve two if I wanted them. I wanted. They weren't cheap, but now we are sure that both cats will be coming along with us to live in France. Not too bad for two abandoned street cats!
We found Mr. Darcy in 2002 as a starved kitten living in our garden shed. Valentine fed him milk with a dropper and he quickly grew to his current form: a big burly tom cat that decapitate a Ouaga rat with a single blow.

We found little Cleo in 2006. Well, she found us. She showed up with a kitten in tow, both of them starved but very, very affectionate. It looked to me like they must have been abandoned by some expat family. Maybe they couldn't get a microchip for her!!!!
The Burkinabé, in general as a cultural thing, do NOT like cats. Cats are associated with death and witchcraft and many people are very, very frightened of them. It is the rare Burkinabé family that would have one as a family pet. Only a few brave, non-superstitious souls keep them to control the rats and mice.

BTW- I now have internet at home, but still NO access to my emails!


pinaypostcrosser said...

Congratulations on the great traffic at your blog. I wish I could get the same traffic :)

In the remote parts of my country, cats, particularly black cats, are also associated with witchcraft, dark magic, and bad omen.

I was surfing the net and looking for postcard resources from Burkina Faso when I stumbled upon your blog. I have started collecting postcards as a way of "travelling" to many places in the world. I have always been interested in travelling but that won't be possible for me due to my limited resources. So I figured I can just travel around the world with postcards :) I also send out postcards so I can share with other people how my country looks like. Please let me know if you will be interested to receive one :)

I wish you and your family well.

BurkinaMom said...

Thanks for your good wishes.
If you would like me to mail you a Burkina post card before I leave in July, email me in a few days (when my server is back online) at
If you give me your address, I'll send one right away!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Darcy looks a lot like Alexa.

Tell her to be careful, or France will demand you put a microchip in her. -- MLW

babzee said...

Hey, Pumpkin Queen! In addition to having all my emails to you bounce (sometimes a week after being sent), Blogger wouldn't let me log in for several days. The CyberGods are against this starcrossed love of ours! Hope to see you in my Inbox again soon. Breathe!

BurkinaMom said...

I deperately hope that they don't make poor Alexa get chip-ified! Have you ever SEEN the needle they use?? When the vet opened the insertion kit and I first saw the thing, it seemed to be about the diameter of a drinking straw!! A more careful look revealed it to be perhaps not quite that huge, but still awfully darn enormous. The stoic and manly (in a cat-type way) MrD didn't even blink when they jabbed him, but poor little Cleo (featured in the pic with Al) had to be poked THREE times, as the chip (which is really quite big) was jammed in the syringe.
Ouch, ouch, ouch.
I'm just saying.

BurkinaMom said...

MsB- I am kind of beginning to feel like a hostage being held incommunicado. No email AT ALL for one week! It is freakish and distressing!!
I am glad for some news from you!! I might have to call if this continues into the weekend. Will you be around?