14 March – Kossouka, 7:38pm
I'm so glad the vaccination campaign is over! While it was amazing and energizing to see the sunrise again (I miss crew!), I loved waking up outside this morning as it got light out and then being able to roll over and go back to sleep for a little while. I sat outside listening to music, eating leftovers from dinner last night, and drinking many cups of coffee with sweetened condensed milk (sooo good and such a bad habit to develop). Dinner last night was every veggie I had (2 onions, 3 small eggplants, 4 small green peppers, 8 small tomatoes, 3 cloves of garlic) cut up and tossed in a pot with water, piemont (hot pepper), Maggie onion and spice, garlic pepper, Hawaiian seasoning salt, and the rest of a package of macaroni added at the end for good measure. A little overly salty, but delicious and it made enough for dinner last night as well as breakfast and lunch today. I was trying to read my book (All The Pretty Horses) but just couldn't get into it and listened to music instead. What a lovely way to wake up!
At 9 I finally corralled the cats and headed over to the CSPS to study and chat. Started on the future and conditional tenses in French. I will be ready for IST! (In Service Training, for language and technical skills) Came home, ate the rest of my veggie melange, went to the market for more vegetables, and got fish for the cats and munchies for me (gallettes and a gateau). Sarata came over a bit before 2, and we sat and chatted for a bit. When Ilia (my erstwhile tutor) showed up she tried to hide, then became really shy and reluctant to be around us – it might have been the subject, we were talking presidential politics and the protests, or it might have just been that she's a young teenager and he's a man. I worked hard to just listen and stay neutral in my own position (PC policy – we want to be able to work with everyone, so taking a political stand is a no-no), but it was still very interesting to explore the current situation here and in our neighboring countries. Sarata excused herself after a bit, but I told her to come back tomorrow.
Ilia left and I went back to the CSPS. I greeted everyone and started back on the French, but went to watch a birth with David and one of the interns. The mother was 17 years old, and at her last pre-natal consultation in February she weighed 107 lbs. I swear her stomach looked so small I was convinced the baby must be premature, but when David finally lifted him out into the world the baby was a healthy 3kg (6.6lbs) and hollered like crazy. The body can be pretty amazing!
Moussa showed up and we chatted for a while in our mix of French/English. Ilias (my petit african) walked by and said hello and it turns out they're brothers. Eh? How are they so totally different? The three of us had a nice conversation, and I found out that school is restarting the 28th. In theory. We're hoping to avoid the annee blanche, so we'll see how it all turns out. An annee blanche is declared by the department of education when school has been delayed for over 2 months, and it essentially wipes the year out of memory – every student re-does that class the next year instead of continuing on. After Moussa left, Simon, my librarian, showed up to tell me about the meeting for the CVD (committee villagoise de development) tomorrow. Sweet! Maybe I can find someone who wants to be my homologue for our technical training in April! Crossing my fingers.
Left around 6:30pm, greeted my neighbors, then headed home to set up my tent and chill. I have now mastered the shower with half a bucket of water, a necessity when your water barrel is running low and you forgot to go to the tap before the solar power cuts around 4pm. Watched the sun set and drank my bissap and gingembre that I bought at the marche. I hear my major talking with the inspecter (head of the primary schools for our district) next door, but I love having my quite evenings of solitude, sitting under the half-moon while listening to music or reading while drinking my tea (which I have yet to make). I'm finding it easier and easier to go to bed early – there's just no reason to stay up and let the mosquitoes keep eating on me.