Au Revoir Burkina Faso

A few weeks from now, I will be leaving my beloved first country assignment of Burkina Faso. Though it may not be the best country to conduct my training but I learned to love her. That, despite of my poor French communication skills and my not-black-not-white-skin. I’m out of place.

I’m maybe the only Filipino in the country as of the moment. Well, I’m not entirely sure about that but I haven’t met a Kabayan in my 2 years of stay here. Also, I rarely leave our site. So who knows? But I don’t worry about that too much because the nature of Burkinabes or Africans in general are very welcoming. Almost feels like better than home. Better than home that it’s almost not weird to smile at any stranger or greet them. Back home, if someone would greet me a “Good morning!” or smile at me without any reason, I would be totally freaked out. Filipinos are vigilant like that.

Rewind to my arrival in Ouagadougou. It was a nice sunny morning of May 2015. The moment I stepped out of the plane, a whiff of very warm air welcomed my being. Very welcoming that it’s painful even. Back at the hotel, I was greeted by giant geckos. It was nice. We also have geckos in the Philippines. Reminds me of home.

To be honest, I didn’t expect myself to last this long. I thought it would only take a couple of months for me to quit. I’m surprised. One rotation is finished, contacted Malaria, experienced Coup detat, and almost got killed in a terrorist attack in the hotel where I always stay, and almost two years after, I’m writing this blog post almost teary eyed. Burkina Faso is my home now.

I know it’s cheezy but that’s how I feel. I’m more comfortable here than in the Philippines. Weird!

A few days back, I received an email from our office in Makati. The email that I’ve been waiting for since my friend from Zambia and Senegal received theirs. I was excited and scared at the same time because the country indicated in the email will be my home for the next couple of years.

When I opened the attached .pdf file and read where I will be assigned next, my heart sank. I feel so weak that it seems like a dementor just passed by and gave me a quick kiss. I will be assigned in Uganda. Another African country. I didn’t know what happened in my past life to deserve this. I have nothing against Africa but a change of environment would be better for me.

My tentative schedule is on the 13th of April so I only have less than a month of vacation. Actually, I booked a trip to Japan and Korea that I need to cancel because of this update in my schedule. Too bad, I’ve been planning for this trip since July last year. Maybe the Sakura can wait for me next year.

So there, I may be a bit bitter now but who knows maybe Uganda is a good country. Maybe we can go to a Safari over there or to her neighboring country, Kenya. And I’ll make sure I’ll enjoy the majority of my stay in Uganda. Majority because sometimes I need to be miserable too.

10 thoughts on “Au Revoir Burkina Faso

  1. Mike, my friend, I did not got the chance to work with you as much as would have liked but one thing though, I know how to recognized an out-of-the-ordinary-person at first glance. And going through your social stuff I am glad to see my feelings confirmed: you are truly an exceptional person. Uganda will surely bring you other enriching experiences but I also wish for you, other diversified experiences. Again, thanks for all your hard work in Burkina Faso, I will definitely have good words for you on LinkedIn. Take care. All the best.

  2. Hi Sir Jason, thank you for the kind words. I don’t know how did you find me here. Is it linked to my linkedin account? Hahahaha. It’s my pleasure to work with you and semafo. Thank you so much!

  3. So proud of you, Mike. It seems like only yesterday when you were just a shy young man aspiring to be an engineer in the tiny sleepy mountain city of Baguio. Now look at you, a full-pledged engineer in all the meaning of the word. To top it all, bumuburkina faso ka na, tapos umuuganda na din hahaha. You are making a difference, that’s for sure. Carry on, Mike. Enjoy every minute of it.

  4. Thank you Ma’am Mia. Unexpected din nangyayari sa life ko ngayon. Lol. I’ll enjoy everything po, don’t worry. Thank you po. I really appreciate it.

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