5 December – Romongo, 9:31pm
Another lovely Sunday. Slept in until 6:30ish (!), then got up and had a lazy morning of reading, eating, drinking tea, and only saying hello as people passed my door. I did my laundry with help from two of the girls and it went very quickly. I bathed the dog and adding some warm water seemed to help a lot, even if it had little bits of tô in it from breakfast. I removed the mothballs from my trunk, cleaned it, and put some papers in it. If possible I'd like to take it – for one, it'll make transporting all the new papers and packages easier, but we'll see. On Emily and Anna's advice when they arrived, I threw the mothballs in the latrine since I was afraid that the kids would try and eat them if I threw them in the trash. Aunt Fati had asked if I could show her my photos of my parents today, a day when we she knew I had more time (I thought that was really sweet of her to think of that!) but she was at the market so I sat and read for a little before meeting up with Anna, Emily, and Al to go over to Alicia's house.
Lunch was lovely – a cucumber, tomato, onion, corn salad with oil, vinegar, chili powder, basil and too much salt, and sandwiches with VQR, pesto, and tomatoes. We wanted avocado, but now that the Cote d'Ivoire boarder is closed there are no more avocados to be found. We also made popcorn with bright orange powdered cheese, courtesy of Steve's family. Yum! I went with Alicia and Anna to the market after lunch to walk around and so that Anna could buy a pagne for a skirt. I hope at our site we'll get to the point that a crowd won't feel obligated to follow us, but today we had our usual gaggle. I do like Koudougou for that – at least people don't follow us around the market and stare at us. I know we're a novelty, but it's still feels a bit odd to say the least.
I went home and read outside, talking to my host dad and trying out the occasional Moore sentence on Mamu, the youngest daughter. I went and sat in the big courtyard instead of hiding in the smaller side courtyard as it started to get dark, and was rewarded with a calm evening after the oldest girl (who I just can't seem to remember) chased away the little ones who kept greeting me over and over as they tend to do. The aunt who visited a few weeks ago was back and she sat down with us. They chatted a little in Moore, they got me to sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and the aunt sang traditional songs softly as I stared at the stars. I really want a constallation book, now that I can see all the stars! It was so calm and peaceful and unbelievably idylic, like something out of a movie. She eventually got up, did a small dance for about 20 seconds, then went inside as I laughed and clapped for her. The girl and I sat in companionable silence for a while before she suggested that it was time for us to do the same, and we returned inside.
I also had a kind of neat experience with two men who were looking for my host dad. While my host family clearly knows that I can greet them (and that's about it, as they told Alicia, imploring her to help me study :p), these men found it absolutely shocking and delightful that I could welcome them in their native tongue. Lucky for me they switched to French right where my Moore ran out, and I told them that, while I'd last seen Saidou across the street he might have re-entered through the other courtyard and they were welcome to check. Another flurry of amused amazement when I replied correctly to their benedictions left me in a cheerful mood, because even though I clearly have a lot to learn it's nice to know that I've made progress, enough to win at least the approval and amusement of these men.