Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yes, those kids are doing karate moves in that last pic

more The kids here, for the most part, only know about America through Jean Claude Van Damme movies, with theerudite movie buffs also knowing Terminator. And for music, horrible rap music that revolves arounddiamonds, money, and negative connotations for women. I keep thinking they must be pretty disappointedonly seeing a bunch of skinny white people all the time here in Burkina...
My last day with Beth was fun. We biked in the rain to a nice restaurant, found the dining room completely empty, and ordered beers as we sat down. Dripping wet, we were quite the pair of foreigners. The Burkinabe have motorcycles, and generally know when it's going to rain; they have a better chance of staying dry than us. After ordering our second and third choices, we then waited for our food. I say second and third, because, although the menu boasts two pages complete with: hot courses, cold courses, side dishes, breakfasts, main courses, drinks, desserts, seasonal courses, and courses alimentaire, the restaurant only has one or two offerings at any given time. I settled into my non-decision to eat rice and tomato sauce for a second time that day, and was excited when my food arrived. I love rice with tomato sauce, it is great! Last night actually, I made some fried rice with eggs from my neighbor who has chickens, and I think it turned out really well. But back to the restaurant. After dinner, Beth asked about the crepes. Oui, nous avons les crepes. Sweet, can we order some for dessert? Oo la la, we will have to prepare a minimum of three crepes. Oh, okay, I guess we can order three plates of crepes, if that's the only we can get them. How much are they? Oo la la, une mille (1000) francs for each plate. Sigh, alright, bring em on. Twenty minutes later we were eating crepes, and I realized, wait, was it too good to be true? Was I actually....full? I was, and it's a feeling I'll never forget. Beth had still yet to try her dessert, and asked me about it. I looked up, mouth stuffed, and said, "they're good, just like country pancakes." Beth took one bite, agreed with me, and said back, "well, these are some expensive country pancakes." I looked up and said back, "yep, we paid a whole 6 dollars for em." Haha, we laughed and laughed and I felt like some contented redneck happy to be out of the rain. Anyways, it was good to have a neighbor as nice as Beth, even for a week. I'll miss her.
As for me, I'm doing well. That first week was hard. I was nervous, exhausted, hungry, and completely unfamiliar with my new town. But each day is better, day by day it's changing. I still think about home a lot, and I probably always will, but it's good. And the longer I'm here, they less I think about things back home, just people. I'd love to take my little sister to get ice cream after a hard day of navigating the halls of a new school, spend time with my friends and Katie and Ben, do the Sudoku with Mom, or watch movies with Dad, but that'll happen soon enough. And the pace of life here is pleasant. People have plenty of time to stop and chat with eachother, and its simple and good. The rooster wakes me up around 6:30 or 7, I make oatmeal and coffee, check my phone, read, and by 9 or so I'm thinking about what I'm going to do to make it an honest day. It's good work if you can get it. I've got some good book reviews too (I know how you all love them).
But first, and I don't want to sound preachy at all, but malaria is a huge problem here, and July's Natl Geographic has a good article on its resurgence. We don't even think about malaria in the US, but it's definitely real here, and should at least be heard about. On a personal note, even with my net, I get bitten pretty often, and I'd be scared of going to sleep without my anti-malaria medication. Having to be afraid like that for yourself and your family, I couldn't even imagine.
On a less preachy note, Harry Potter, wow times 7. Thanks Jennifer for sending it. I don't want to say anything though, in case someone hasn't read it, so I'll mention another book that I read. A Year In Provence is so good. This british couple moves to Provence after vacationing there every year or so, and it's their story of their first year there. The writing is a little too British, or should I say rather too British, but it is still a great short read, and you'll feel like you're actually spending time in Provence while reading.
Every day is different here, so each time I want to give you a general outline of life here I struggle. I'll try to say a few things now, though please forgive my tangents. The marché, or market, is a 5 minute bike ride down one hill and up another. I pass the police station, some bars full of plastic and wooden tables, and people drinking dolo (the local beer) at them, and some little boutiques. The boutiques sell dry goods, soap, lottery tickets, cell phone cards, pasta, toothpaste, etc...a bohemian Walgreens as far as I can tell. I leave my bike at one close enough to the market, and head in.
When I go into the marché, I first see and smell fresh bread being baked and sold. I like to buy a loaf or two there, rather than at the boutiques, as the bread is warm and smells pretty good. I continue on and buy vegetables, rice, and sugar. For rice and sugar you tell the vendeur how much you want, and he weighs it out on a scale, bags it, and trades it for a few hundred francs. For vegetables it's just as easy. On tables are stacked little clumps of veggies, 5 toms here, 3 peppers here, etc. When you ask how much, you have to listen to the response. If the girl says 50 50 you know she is talking about about the group as a whole for a total of 50 francs. If you ask the price for garlic, she's more likely to say 50, meaning that one bulb is 50. People usually don't buy groups of garlic, except for vampires of course, who do it in an attempt to corner the market, thus driving the price for garlic so high that your basic vampire hunter can't afford to stay in business. Such is life. Now, if they like you, they'll give you one or two extra vegetables for free, as a thanks for business. To guarantee this present, all you have to do is try a little local language. For example, when the girl tells me the price in French, I respond with the number in my butchered attempt at Lobiri. All the girls and their mothers and grandmothers laugh, and my extra veggies are in the bag.
After twenty minutes of the marché (I'll tell you about buying fabric next time, as I only have a few minutes left here), I'm ready to go home. I head back to my bike, tell the boutiquier thanks for letting me park there, and head for home, my spoils dangling from the handlebars, crashing into the bike bridge like some drunk metronome, staggering home after dark, keeping time only for himself.
Okay, gotta go. I'll write soon about my phone, new address (if I have one), and some more parts of life here. Love you and be safe.

1 comment:

Maggy said...

hey i think maybe that computer does what the laptop does.. if you leave your mouse in a spot for a while, the text starts writing it there and it gets all scrambled up. =) Wish you were here to take me to dazzle or dq, but, alas, you are not. e-mail me with your specific thoughts on harry. =)

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