Skip to comments.The Lower Regions of Upper Volta
Posted on 05/28/2014 5:25:46 PM PDT by shove_it
I confess I don't think about the country formerly known as Upper Volta terribly often. In fact, I believe the last time I did was seven or so years ago, when I was having a drink with my favorite foreign minister, Australia's Alexander Downer, and, as one does, we got into an argument about Burkina Faso. Mr Downer had been explaining his reluctance to sign up for some UN body or other because he didn't want to spend all his time stuck on a pointless committee with "some busted-arse country like Burkina Faso". (I believe "busted-arse country" is the stage that comes after "failed state".)
Anyway, after three or four such references, I demanded to know whether the minister could even name Burkina Faso's present head of government. He acknowledged that, alas, he hadn't been paying as close attention to the affairs of Burkina Faso as he might, and, pulling out his BlackBerry, he went to the BBC website and read from their comprehensive and authoritative page on the nation, which began:
Burkina Faso is a poor country by West African standards.
"Crikey," said Minister Downer.
As it turns out, Burkina Faso is not a busted-arse country but a busted-penis country:
A man was killed by a mob Monday in Koudougou, a town in central Burkina Faso, after being accused of making another man's penis "disappear". It was not an isolated incident: there has been an increase in the number of these strange accusations being made in recent weeks.
The trouble started at a local restaurant: ...
(Excerpt) Read more at steynonline.com ...
If you visit Africa, do not shake their hands. Just bow or something.
During WWII, PG Wodehouse was briefly held by the Germans in Upper Silesia. As he said at the time: “If this is Upper Silesia, I should hate to see what Lower Silesia looks like.”
... I guess that depends on where you go and who you meet. In BF and Ghana (neighbor to the south), I shook hands with people- but I was meeting Christians.
BF is now a Muslim-dominated country, btw. For Muslims, the mores are different.
One other related cultural note - true in both countries: Do not give or receive anything with the left hand. Very offensive.
Upper Volta was what was on the cathode before it went through the grid to the anode.