Well, I've been doing a little sight-seeing, a lot of meeting and greeting, and even more ineffectual stuttering and stammering while trying to communicate.
I have no French language skills worth mentioning, but I have managed to master "bonjour" (good day, or hello), "bon soir" (good afternoon), "tout a l'heures" (see you soon), and "au revoir" (see you later). Bonjour or bon soir are often followed by "comment ca va?" which means "How are you?" The quick, courteous response is "Ca va," which means "fine."
In Burkina, when you greet someone you haven't seen in quite some time, you shake hands, with the right hand, and deliver 4 mock kisses, alternating each cheek. Variations on this greeting are legion throughout Europe and Africa.
Ouaga has many sights to see. There is a large Catholic presence in the city. I have seen portraits of Pope Benedict (and even more of the universally-revered Jean Paul II). Maty was educated in a Catholic school, despite being Muslim.
I was treated to the sight of a goat being butchered for a wedding the other day. Not for the squeamish. The carcass was delivered to la maison Diop for Mama Diop to prepare for the next day.
The wedding was a big party. Lots of drums and music.
Maty and I went hiking with my brother-in-law Mor the other day. Hiking in Burkina is more like strolling in Oregon. The heat is powerful, and everything just slows down. Even a leisurely pace will have your shirt pasted to your body in no time at all.
Anyway, I was taking a few shots of the landscape when we happened upon a scenic view of swampy wetland. We were in a park very close to Ouaga and I imagined that we would be safe from any threatening African beasts. I edged my way close to the tall grasses that grew in the water in order to get the best camera angle I could. Just as I snapped my shot, Mor and Maty began pointing excitedly and insisting that they had just seen a crocodile! (Yes, they have crocodiles in Burkina.)
Was it a crocodile? I don't know. But I was convinced that the prudent course for me would be to put some distance between myself and the water rather than be mistaken for a tasty meat snack by some reptilian behemoth. I scrambled back up to the path, post haste.
Whatever it was, it never moved while I was watching. It may well have been a sodden log, or a rock. Here's the picture. Take a look and see what you think.
We also saw an iguana, or something similar. And a couple huge termite palaces.