Cathy Seeley, PCV in Burkina Faso


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Cathy Seeley
Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso

This site is a collection of photos, information, and essays about Burkina Faso, West Africa and my Peace Corps service there as a secondary mathematics teacher from 1999 to 2001. There is a lot of information in these pages, so you might want to read through this home page (and maybe the About Burkina Faso page) to get an overview before you start looking for specific information or photos. If you are looking for a particular person, village or topic, look at the Table of Contents (Site Map)

*This site is maintained periodically, but it has not been, and will not be, regularly updated, as it reflects only my experiences from 1999 through 2001.*

(See the note below about the scope of information on this site and ideas on finding other information. A list of links about Peace Corps and Burkina Faso is also given below.)

Are you a new Peace Corps volunteer headed for Burkina Faso? Check out the page of suggestions about what to pack (updated June 2002)

Are you a friend or family member of a volunteer in Burkina Faso? Check out the page of ideas about what to send in a care package (updated June 2002).


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About Me...

After many years as a mathematics educator, I decided to pursue a challenge that had been percolating in my mind since college, by joining the Peace Corps after my daughters were grown. I went to Africa equipped with technology and a lot of ideas about how mathematics should be taught based on 30 years of work in Texas and the rest of the United States. But teaching in Burkina Faso was a whole other reality. Truly an adventure...

About the Site...

As an educator and a parent, I intend this site to be a kid-safe and family-friendly source of information about people, places, and positive (yet challenging) experiences. Every now and then you will find a math problem or some science facts, as well as lots of geography and social studies information about a country very few people know, especially on the About Burkina Faso page and the related Student Activities page. Unfortunately, this site cannot capture the diversity of the entire country of Burkina Faso, and it is filtered by my own philosophy and the limitations of my experiences from 1999-2001. But I hope the site can give you a taste of this country that maybe one day you can visit yourself! 

I have made every effort to ensure that there are no inappropriate links from these pages. However, I must include a disclaimer that I cannot guarantee the accuracy or value of any site listed. Rather, I have tried to provide sources of information that seemed interesting, valuable and appropriate, to the best of my ability. 

At this site, you can explore:

Miscellaneous information about Burkina Faso and my life there

Some of the wonderful faces of Burkina Faso (these may take a while to load)

Some cities and towns in Burkina Faso

Some of the villages and countryside of Burkina Faso, including the villages where Project NEEED activities and student development activities have taken place

Holidays celebrated Peace-Corps style in Burkina Faso

Art and music in Burkina Faso

Animals of Burkina Faso

Growing things (gardening, crops, etc.) in Burkina Faso

School life in Ouahigouya

Peace Corps volunteers in Burkina Faso and their houses (and information for future volunteers and their families on what to pack and send)

Pictures of Cathy's life in Burkina Faso

The technology I used in Burkina Faso

Some essays about my life in Burkina Faso (Reflections in the Dust)

Links to related sites (also included throughout the site)



Teachers (of French, mathematics, science, social studies, or others), go to the information page for some activities for your students.


Wherever you see an underlined word or phrase in color, it is a link to another location, either on this website or somewhere else on the Internet. Some of these pages have digital photos that may take a while to load, depending on your computer and Internet connection. I have used thumbnails (a small photo with a colored border like the one below) wherever possible. If you see a thumbnail, you can click directly on it to see the larger photo. Try it on the thumbnail below. Have fun!

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Special Note

In many ways, Burkina Faso is a simple land, slowly moving towards development through the efforts of hard-working and good-spirited people. But it is also a land of complex issues, both political and social. Burkina Faso faces many of the same health, economic, climate, education, social, political and development challenges as other countries in West Africa. Burkina Faso deals with periodic drought and famine, a variety of health problems, a lack of material resources, extreme poverty and severe illiteracy, to name a few. This site does not deal with many of these issues or with the whole arena of human rights. One source for information about a wide range of social, political and human rights issues from a U.S. government perspective is a site maintained by the U.S. State Department. Or check current news and social/human rights issues in Burkina Faso at the Washington Post's website. For other perspectives, consider doing an Internet search (I suggest using a meta-search engine such as or You might search not only for Burkina Faso, but also for President Blaise Compaoré, former president Thomas Sankara, or for particular issues such as AIDS (SIDA in French), population control, water, etc.                                           

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Links to related sites:
Friends of Burkina Faso
Lycée Yamwaya (Ouahigouya) English teacher Bernard Ouedraogo's site, with links to the English Club's Newsletter
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Jonathan Colman's primer on the language of the Mossi (Mooré)
Official Burkina Faso government website
U.S. Embassy in  Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso Embassy in Washington, DC
Burkina Faso Embassy in Canada (French site)
Great detailed map of Burkina Faso (French site)
FESPACO (English/French site on bi-annual African film festival held in Ouagadougou)
Stanford University Libraries/African Collection for Sub-Saharan Africa
Lonely Planet's guide to Burkina Faso
U.S. Peace Corps
U.S. Peace Corps information page on Burkina Faso
Peace Corps' Worldwise Schools (connecting Peace Corps volunteers and U.S. students)
National Peace Corps Association
Peace Corps Crossroads (with links to many sites)
Chicago Area Peace Corps Association (includes links to sites about Peace Corps and about life in Peace Corps countries)




I couldn't have lived this adventure without the love and support of my family, friends, and colleagues throughout North America. Among the many friends who provided all kinds of support, I am truly grateful to the folks at Unity Church of the Hills in Austin and the Dana Center at the University of Texas.  I deeply appreciate all the individuals who cared enough not to forget their friend in the Sahel. In the words of a friend, 
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

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All Photos and essays are copyright Cathy Seeley. All rights reserved. No photo may be reproduced without permission, except for small group educational purposes (thanks for giving appropriate credit) or for personal use with permission of the individual(s) in the photograph.  For other uses, please contact Cathy Seeley



Let me know your impressions of, or suggestions for, this site, or if any links are outdated or inappropriate. Please note that this site may not be frequently updated after Spring 2002.

Send e-mail to:

Updated on October 28, 2002 .

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