Sunday, April 29, 2007

Monday 23 April

Today I spent a couple hours on an old fashioned typewriter.
Twas fun.
Reminded me of playing the piano.

What were you typing?

I was typing a 3 page English exam written by the principal that will be copied using a manual hand crank replicator.

The Day's Schedule

Saturday 21 April

Rise and shine
My water girl showed up ready to move a pile of sand out of my patio.
Went and had a cup of instant coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk with a buttered baguette to dunk.
Went in search for veggies and salt, but the market was empty.
Went to the tailor
Started grading 80 math tests.
Went to the market and bought tomatoes, onions, okra, sugar, salt, and freshly butchered lamb.
Graded some more.
Started cooking spaghetti for five people using my one tiny pot.

Ate spaghetti.

Washed dishes.
Started and finished a book.
Crocheted a bag.
Braided my hair.

Took a bucket bath

Had tea with neighbors.
Put grades into grade book.
Read Where There is No Doctor for my continuously runny nose. Allergies to the dust? Take Dramamine it suggested.

Listened to music and fell asleep

Black Hole

Monday April 16

I'm always afraid of dropping my
flashlight down the hole
like how my good soap from Mali
got away from me and plummeted to its death.

I knew a guy whose hat fell.
He fished it out.
Must have been a really special hat.

I knew a girl who lost 5 pair of sunglasses.

And I once heard the story of a kitten who skidded and couldn't stop.

No wonder the 3-year old goes in the courtyard rather than my latrine.

Sunday 15 April

The sun makes one
not even want to move out of the ombre
to go to the unshaded latrine
holding it until the last moment possible
like on a long car trip.

Dust covers everything.

Yet people's feet and shoes always seem so dust free.

I've learned to scrub my sandals every night, my feet several times a day, and rinse my flip flops before leaving the house. I now understand better the washing of feet so often spoken of in the Bible.

I'm surprised that in this dusty, dirty, hot place, my pores don't clog.
Maybe sweating keeps the pimples away?
Maybe it is the lack of chocolate?
Or is that a myth?

Friday April 13

It is dark.
It is hot.
It is still early only 8 pm.
I lie in the dark thinking up dresses I want tailored made.

I was never a clothes person in the US, hating shopping because nothing ever fit. Here though everything fits if its a good tailor.

I have a good tailor.
Send me pictures or patters of cute modest sundresses.
I left all of my clothes in Guinea.

Seeing two nuns

speeding away on their little motorcycles an attitude of eat my dust with veils flapping behind them makes me smile.

The Burkinabe nuns live it up here a walled compound full of foodies: cold water, running water, toilet paper, popcorn, a fully cemented courtyard, flowers, and fruit trees.


It was impressive here.
About 500 people showed up for the 4 hour Catholic service, about 100 baptized, about 10 couples married.

Then the partying began, feasting on pork, lamb, and goat, washing it all down with millet beer.

I went and said hello to all the people who I see daily or who have helped me: the boutique guys, the meat guys, the coffee guy, the taxi guy, the street food ladies, the profs at the middle school, the family of the girl who helps get my water, my tailor, my carpenter, and the guys I drink tea with.

Then I hid away from the market drinking tea in a quiet courtyard away from the center. It is hard being the white person amongst a bunch of drinking strangers. So I sat in the distance watching the comings and goings of motorcycles that were going too fast for a heavily populated area. Thankfully he crashed instead of hitting a person.

There was a lot of drumming and dancing.

The night was full of joyful noise.

1st Week of School

Twas easy.
The kids come to school on time.
They listen.
They participate.
They attend office hours.
They know what 9x9 is at least some of them do.
They are quiet.
They work.

my 8th graders all 110 of them
my 7th graders all 88 of them

I'm impressed this week.

5 cents a piece

They eat mangoes like apples here, skin and all.

Thursday April 10

God is funny or maybe sympathetic.
In the hottest, driest season,
He gave us mangoes.

Thursday 5 April

A wind storm
drove us inside
me, a girl, and a mother with a baby

They said they could smell rain.

Later I heard it rained in Ouaga today.
They smelt it 100 km away.

Burkina vs Guinea

Wednesday April 4

Things here just work better.
The quality is higher.
There are more choices.

The matches light on one strike.
Chalk doesn't break every time I write.
2 pieces can last 2 hours whereas
in Guinea I would need 10.

The taxi for Ouaga left on time
even 10 minutes early.
It was a cush ride.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Monday April 2

Lying still
I am okay
But as soon as I start moving,
even just my writing hand
my face slicks up.

It is only 19:30
I cannot lie still
till morning
So here I write
Here I glisten

Sunday April 1

A hornet's nest worth
of flies come zooming
out of the dark hole
whizzing by my ears
a few of them
their wings
to my splatter
stuck buzzing in a puddle
to take off again.