Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Unexpected Day

July 23rd

I was challenged to do something unexpected today. “Unexpected?” I thought. “Well, I'm already planning on doing my laundry and digging up and watering the places where I want to plant my garden tomorrow, so what can I do that is unexpected with that?” I decided that while I was thinking I should go get water, since the hour to think was bound to help. I had to go searching for the key (not unexpected), but did find out that nearly everyone was at work, even though it was a Saturday. So I asked Sali for the key, got my water, and came and sat down to chat with Ken, one of our interns, and his friends. Salim (the pharmacist) came and sat down with us, and we talked in a very strange combination of French/English/Moore, which lead to a lot of confusion and laughter. I asked Ken if he would take me to see his family again since I'd really liked meeting them the last time he was home, so we're going tomorrow or Monday afternoon – he said his father was asking after me, which made me happy.

Julienne came back last night, so we sat and chatted a little but avoided anything too serious. I'm glad she's back – I'm surprised to admit that I missed her (her humor tends to have a bite to it) but I did. I headed home to start my laundry and promised a surprise for everyone. Laundry and dishes went pretty quickly – music helps. ;)

So then my adventure with tortillas! I had noticed a few weevils in my flour the last time I checked, but there didn't seem to be too many so I didn't worry. I decided to go ahead and sift all of my flour and put it in a new container, and removed a surprising number of little bugs and larvae, but hoped that it would still be ok for cooking. I rolled out all the dough and started to fry it, and noticed that it smelled kind of funny, so I only made three to start. I ate one, and while it was ok, I noticed that it tasted a little odd, especially after I was done eating. Maybe it'll be better once they're fried into chips, I thought. So I added more oil and cut up the tortillas I'd cooked and tossed them in. They turned into beautiful looking chips, but even over the fried salty deliciousness I could taste that they were off somehow. It might have been the sudden influx of fried foods after not eating a lot of oil for a while, but I wasn't feeling all that great, so I decided to be on the safe side and scrap my project rather than foist off dubious chips onto my friends. I'm disappointed that it didn't work out, but I'll buy new flour and try again – it really was old flour and about time to get rid of it anyway, I guess.

What else? Unexpected. I sat out in the light rain talking to Drissa, the miner who has come over a few times to say hello. He repeated a lot of our last conversation, but I didn't really mind. I suddenly realized sitting there that I'm really tired! I thought about it, and I guess I've been on my feet getting water or doing laundry or cooking for the past 7 or 8 hours, so it makes sense – I'm just surprised I didn't realize it until I finally sat down.

I had a really long talk with Ebben last night – he called because he was looking through his phone for people he hadn't called in a while. We agreed that the longer we're in Burkina, the less solid our post-Peace Corps plans seem to get, as though we're losing the ability to predict what we want to do or where we want to end up. It's sometimes so easy to daydream about the future, and yet other times it's hard to imagine anything past the next day or week or season. I think it should have a name. Burkina Time. Or maybe Volunteer Time – I wonder if this happens in other places too?

While I was doing my laundry I found the tiniest little lizard in my bucket. I picked her out and she just sat on my pointer finger, no bigger than the space from the first joint to my fingertip. She seemed pretty content, so I went and got my camera and took her picture. I could feel and see her heart beating. I finally convinced her to climb off onto the seco of my hangar, and she quickly scuttled away into the layers of straw – I hope I see her again.

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