Tuesday, April 12, 2011

FESPACO, New Kitten!

1 March – 7:08am

Busy last few days! After a short week at site (summery: my major was sick in Seguenega for most of it, I did baby weighings, World Food Program rations, wondered what we're going to do with Leukman the 13 year old who weighs 11kilos, kept missing my bissap lady at the marche, found that Alimata the galette lady had been getting her teeth pulled in Kongoussi), I headed out again to Ouaga on Friday for FESPACO, the international African film festival held every 2 years. I was afraid I wasn't going to get to go because of the student riots here – we were getting texts to stay out of the center of towns and to call Congo if we were going to be in Ouaga. So I got his ok and headed in. There were demonstrations and marches in a couple of big cities, and schools across the country canceled school until today (tuesday), but when I got into town it seemed completely normal and everyone I talked to dismissed it as not a very big deal.

I showed up at the Transit House and said hello to everyone. We chatted, went to the bureau to get packages, and then dropped stuff off at the TH. Lunch was attcheke, a shaved manioc cous-cous served with veggies in a mayonaise sauce. It was really good, but I got quite sick after, so maybe I'll be avoiding it in the future. Sunyata and I watched the new Alice in Wonderland and played with her kitten, Lion, but I fell asleep during the movie so at some point I'll have to watch it again.

Woke up the next morning feeling much better and after a shower I went to use the internet and consolidate my packages. I made brownies, much to the delight of the other people in the house, and we planned what we were going to do that afternoon for the festival. We missed going to the opening ceremonies, so we made plans for a late movie as a group at the French Cultural Center. When we got there we noticed the art gallery, so of course we went in to take a look. We assumed that the artist was a Burkinabe painter, but were then informed that actually it was a Frenchman. The paintings were absolutely stunning – strong women, stoic men, abstract figures dancing – all of them were amazing and somehow very touching and moving. I fell asleep in the movie a few times – it was called Visages des Femmes, a 1985 film being shown in hommage to the Ivoirian director who had passed away last year. It was honestly a bit confusing and I couldn't really follow it, but it was interesting enough. After we got out it was pretty late, but some of us were still hungry so we caught a cab to Chez Simon and had a midnight dinner – delicious!

The next day when I was leaving Ouaga I had some bus confusion, but made it to Sabce to see Wendy. It was nice to see her, and hopefully nice for her to have company. We made a salad of potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and mayo – very tasty - and I started playing with the kittens. Although I was a bit hesitant, I went with the one we caught first, who was very calm and relaxed when I picked her up and held her, and although she's no Lion, I think of the two I made the right choice. The next day we waited for her homologue to show up to take us to meet people, but he kept putting it off so we toured a little bit, bought lunch for the girl who helps out around her house, made ourselves lunch of bread with mayo, mustard, VQR, and tomatoes, and played with the kitties.

Once I made my choice and boxed up my cute gingery kitten (who was NOT happy to be in the box but calmed pretty quickly), we went to wait for the bus. We waited. And we waited. We drew a crowd. They finally dispersed. We stopped the first bus but they said the one to Seguenega was coming. Two blew right past town, leaving me in a bit of a panic. I called Salamata, the midwife at my CSPS, and then my major called me back to tell me that the bus was in Malou, about 30 minutes away. I don't know why it was so late, but was incredibly grateful! I hopped onto the seriously overcrowded bus with my boxed kitten, and off we went.

She was so good! Once I opened the box flaps she could peek out and was much calmer – I petted her the entire way home. We got to Kossouka and when I took her out of her box she ran and hid! So I got her, put her back in the box after showing her food, water, and new litter box, and she went to sleep. We played and she slept off and on, and then we settled into bed to go to sleep around midnight. I was worried that she still hadn't peed, but she made it until about 6am when she woke me up to play. I put her in her litter box, she hopped out, we went back to bed, and then she snuggled up next to me so she could pee on me. How sweet. Now we've spent the morning playing and sleeping (well, not sleeping on my part), and now she's in my lap as I type this. She's not immediately as playful and friendly as Lion, but I think she's going to be a nice character to have around.

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