Friends and Family,
We have officially arrived at our new home safely! We drove a couple hours to a town called Fada and stayed there on the night of the 3rd, and then yesterday we left from the guest house at the SIM compound in Fada to come here to Mahadaga. To say that this is in the “middle of nowhere” might possibly be a huge understatement! We are definitely at the end of civilization out here and it was a lot of work to get here! We strapped all our stuff on top of our truck and endured a very bumpy ride to Mahadaga. At some points the roads are completely devastated, other points there are rivers over the road or a herd of cattle in the way! It was a very hot and dusty ride but the truck had a/c which was somewhat of a help. We thankfully did not get attacked by bandits and had no car trouble (apparently both are VERY common here).
Driving into this area- there is a large difference in how it looks compared to the rest of Burkina. You drive over these “hills” and down into the valley area – which was thick with condensation (looked like fog). It’s more hot and humid here, very lush and there are mango trees everywhere. There are a few towns before you arrive in Mahadaga- so it’s not completely all on its lonesome- but there is not much by way of a ‘town.’ You feel sort of like a celebrity driving along- everyone waving at you and smiling. It’s not often they see vehicles and even less often they see white people driving them. My favorite part though was the group of swimmers we drove right beside….all children…there was a herd of cattle in the way and they all jumped out with their naked behinds and swatted away the animals- all the time smiling and giggling. Was quite funny!
We settled into our home here soon after arrival….I started to “nest” and try and get our kitchen in order. Our little home hasn’t been lived in for awhile so there was dust everywhere and lots of cockroaches and spiders! (I had Jason go ahead of me in every room and wipe all the shelves and spiderwebs down for me!) We actually got quite a bit done soon after arrival which made me feel a bit more at home.
We had a nice dinner potluck last night with everyone at this compound. Two families with 2 kids each. One of them just built an incredible home here on the compound- they have a million stories about the difficulties it took in getting all the supplies here from Ouaga or the U.S. There’s also a French nurse (about my age) and the 80 year old missionary we met beforehand in Canada!
Today we got to tour the clinic where I’m working (just across the street). It’s huge! Lots of maternity, overnight rooms, a laboratory, and much more. Most of the staff were gone today to go out in the bush and do immunizations- but I did get to watch one of the African nurses start to suture a very bad cut on a guy’s arm. (felt a little woozy- ha ha!) Also got to see the sweetest, newest little babies. HOWEVER- I realize even more how much I need to learn the local language Gourma- it will be most useful! The long term missionary Betty- who’s 80 years old and has come here for over 50 years will be teaching me soon- or we’ll hire a “language helper.”
So much more to say- hope it’s not too long! Some random things….
-there are LOTS of scorpions here apparently and one lady in our compound just got stung last night (thank goodness they’re not deadly),
-took me about 3 hours today to make brownies (HA HA)- all ovens are gas powered and problematic, our eggs were bad etc (will tell you the interesting story of making brownies later)
-donkeys are the worst sound to wake up to in the morning
-I was actually cold last night. NO JOKE
Love to you all
Will update more infrequently now as we get into our work. We’ll be starting our jobs probably after we get more settled after the weekend. We’ll also go next weekend BACK to fada to hopefully collect our baggage and have orientation with other short termers. I may have to go a bit further to get dental work too- PLEASE PRAY I DON’T NEED TO AND MY TOOTH WITH HEAL!
In case anyone wants it- here is our mailing address here:
For letters/small things:
BP 18 Diapaga
For large things (NOT that we’re expecting many large packages- but if it’s anything that you are concerned that we don’t get):
Shannon and Jason Brink
SIM Mission Protestante
01 B.P. 1552 Ouagadougou 01