Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day in Village

July 15th

Today alternately felt good, long, dull, sad, irked, happy, accomplished, amused, and calm. So, it was a normal day. I've really been having trouble sleeping through the night, with or without the melatonin that I got while I was in Ouaga and absolutely unable to sleep. I suspect the problem now is that it's because I'm too warm inside, but every time I'm ready for bed it's cloudy and I don't particularly want to risk sleeping outside if it means I'll have to wake up at 3am to move inside. But tonight it's quite warm inside, so I might give it a try since tomorrow I can sleep in if I want to (or if I'm able to ignore the sunlight coming in the door). Anyway, once I got over being grumpy about my alarm and sat up, I felt pretty good and even my gas tank running out didn't really bother me too much, probably because it had at least finished boiling the water for my breakfast and tea. I've been drinking tea almost constantly – it's somehow very comforting as well as delicious.

Sali got a call yesterday saying that Julienne's mother passed away, so she left to go pay our respect and give the condolences on behalf of the CSPS. I kind of wish I could have gone, but I guess I'm not particularly close to her like Sali is, I just feel compelled to reach out to her. I imagine losing a mother is a lot different than losing a father, but I'm sure it all depends on the person and how she relates to her parents.

The effect of her leaving is that we now have 2 people staffing our CSPS when there's normally 5 (our other nurse, Djeneba, just gave birth to a healthy baby girl, so she's on maternity leave in Ouaga for 3 months), so they're both very tired and feeling overworked. The major was working in the maternity and told me to go weigh babies and take temperatures at the dispensaire, so off I went. A surprisingly large number of people were there for wound care – I was very proud of my stomach for being able to look at wounds that, when I arrived, would have made me nearly faint. I still haven't figured out why so many children seemed to have deep gouges out of the back of their heels, it seems like an odd place to get injured. That part was interesting, but sitting and listening to consultations (and taking more temperatures) got very long and dull – about 10am I seem to get very sleepy if I'm stuck in a room sitting down.

When I was walking home, I was stopped by two ladies who came up to me as though they knew me, I was a little concerned since I didn't recognize them, but they responded to my hello and were asking something about why was I, the nasara, here? Do I speak Moore? I laughed and explained that I'm not a nasara, I'm a Burkinabe, I'm learning Moore, and I live here in Kossouka (Right here? Yes, that's my house. That's your house? Yes. Ahh, very good) and work at the CSPS but I'm not a doctor. We were already laughing at this point, but when I told them my name is Alimata they were thrilled, with the first one hailing me as her friend and the second one telling me that her name is also Alimata. I declared that we must be sisters, we all laughed some more, and they said goodbye and kept walking. It was so nice and amusing to have what felt like a real conversation in Moore and not have them realize that they had just heard a good majority of my vocabulary.

I tried to get a new bottle of gas, but they said the brand I use is all out for the moment but maybe tomorrow or Sunday. I'm a little bummed since most everything I eat seems to involve hot water, but I think finding cucumbers at the market right after made up for it. Speaking of which, they moved my marche! It's right next to where it used to be, but now there's just a bunch of empty hangars chilling out next to all the new ones. The new setup is a bit more open and the stalls are tall so you don't have to hunch over anymore, but now I have to find everyone again. Still, there are worse things than market adventures. I did manage to locate my peanut ladies, the dried fish man who I sit and talk with, and one of my veggie guys (who sold me the cucumbers and gave me onions for free – perfect!). I couldn't find Odelle, the woman who sells bissap, but a few people asked around for me and said she was there but must have been going around the marche at the same time I was instead of sitting with her coolers. Maybe on Monday.

While I was doing some laundry this afternoon, a head popped over my wall and started talking to me. I thought it was someone I knew, so I laughed and pointed out that he should use the door next time, not the wall, when he wanted to talk. So he came around and sat down and introduced himself. His name is Drissa, and he's a miner in Gambo (Rondo?). He's 20, his family lives just on the other side of the CSPS, he bikes to and from the mines every day, and apparently people are afraid to come talk to me because they think I'll keep them prisoner in my courtyard. I told him that if his friends would prefer to come and sit with me outside my courtyard to prevent any imprisonment, that would work for me. It wasn't a particularly deep or thoughtful conversation, but it was nice to have someone to chat with while I was taking down dry laundry.

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