2 December – Romongo 9:49pm
I got packages today!!! It was like Christmas in the conference room (there were 34 packages!), and the outpouring of happiness from everyone almost made it worth the waiting and anticipation. I was thrilled at all the useful gadgets and delicious food, but what I quickly realized I missed the most were photos. Robyn managed to choose almost all of the photos from the Laurel Parade and this summer that I had put on my computer with the intent to print out (but ran out of time in the hustle of moving and traveling between AZ and CO), and it absolutely made my heart happy to see my friends and family in a medium that I could hold in my hands and share easily with my friends and host family here. (NB – Caitlin Parsley, there is an adorable picture of us that made me miss you something fierce. You really should consider options for study abroad in West Africa, just sayin'). I showed them to my host family tonight, who seemed surprisingly comprehending at my photo of me with all three of my parents (it's such a great photo!), but do seem to find it a little odd that I'm an only child. They also remarked that I have very friendly looking parents, that should any of them come to Burkina they would be very happy to greet you and have you stay here in Romongo, and that I now should take pictures of my Burkina family to send to my American family so they can get to know each other. I agreed that it was a fine idea – I think Sunday will make a lovely photo day since it's the only day I'm at my house during the daytime.
Please don't think that I don't also appreciate all the food! All of my friends say thank you as well – I had many people share their goodies with me earlier in stage so it was time to pass on the favor and feed people who didn't get two awesome packages like I did. And I'm so happy to know that now I have insurance against nights when I'm served soumbala-fish rice or okra-sauce tô. As one would expect, the minute I have things that I really want to eat I'm served something I like for dinner! Well, it was rice with a separate sauce, so I had salt and pepper rice (which as you know I happily eat in the US), and was given an orange *and* some watermelon for dessert! I managed to somehow jam some orange peel under my thumb nail and even when I removed it, it really hurt! I think I lifted the nail off the bed a little bit, but now that it's been about an hour it feels much better. I've been really lucky so far (knock on wood) and have managed to avoid pretty much all of the maladies plaguing my stage-mates.
The puppy is currently scratching at my door. I bathe him weekly, but after a day or two when I scratch him I can see the dust fly off. He's pretty adorable and besides an affection for nipping at my feet/pants/skirt/anklet/toes/etc, he's not bad to have around. I try to keep him out of my room mostly because even when he's in here for a few minutes I seem to always end up stepping in a mysterious little puddle an hour or so later when I go to get something at the other end of my room. I've never potty trained anything besides asking toddlers if they have to use the bathroom every half-hour, so I deal with it by petting him for a minute and scooting him out of my room ASAP. He scratches at the door and has learned that if I don't latch it he can throw his weight into it a few times to get it to open, but I just keep scooping him up and putting him back outside. It's getting colder at night so tonight I made him a little nest of dirty clothing under a table to shelter him from the wind, and next to a wall which absorbs a bit of sunlight during the day, so it radiates heat at night. I'm not sure what they do to the mud bricks that make up the walls of most houses, but they absorb and hold heat like no other! My bags that rest on the wall are quite warm to the touch, even after it's been dark for a while.