Thursday, March 1, 2012

Belem, "Lamb", Scary critters

February 20th

I woke up this morning and intended to re-plant my garden (lizards keep eating it) but Sali called and asked me if I had a sensibilization. I said no, and she asked me to come into work. My first reaction was suspicious – if it were my major I would have said no, but Sali can handle the maternity on her own so there must be something up. I asked about Nacoulma and Belem, and she just replied that I must not have heard the news. Well, no, I'm never informed of much of anything – what happened? She just told me to come in. So I finished my tea, tried to stop my hair from sticking up funny, put on some clothing, and headed for the CSPS around 9. Much to my dismay she was just getting started, still weighing women while Julienne took blood pressure. Every day I'm tempted to point out that if they would just start on time at 7:30, they would be done by noon instead of having to stay into the lunch break, but like every other day I decided this was more antagonizing than I really want to be with the few people in village I can speak to in French. I was confused why she wanted me there if she already had help, but I got busy arranging everything in the office so we could get started.

The reason she called me was quickly revealed, and then painfully discussed in extreme detail for the next 4 hours. Belem's husband died suddenly over the weekend. She was understandably distraught, and I think Sali went with her (to Ouaga I presume) and just got back yesterday. It was really hard to sit there and listen to them pick it apart for so long, especially because all they were doing was talking and distracting one another while I just sat and listened and filled out all of the paperwork myself.

I was thinking about a passage from Lamb today (a book by Christopher Moore, highly recommended). I'm pretty sure Jesus didn't learn kung-fu from Buddhist monks in the mountains of China, but there's a part where he and Biff (his childhood best friend in this comedic fiction) have been told to line up 20 wooden pillars in the snowy courtyard. They've spent hours learning to jump up onto them, and more hours until they can jump from the one they're on to the one next to them. Then they're kept waiting, one over from where they started, until the sun goes down and the teacher tells them to get down and put the pillars away. Biff asks why they had to set up 20 when they only used 3. The teacher asks why they were thinking about the 20 when they could each only stand on one. I feel like that's the lesson I'm trying to learn right now. Part of me sees the path ahead of me in life, all the steps I need to take to get there, thinking about grad school and careers and vacations and such. And I don't discount the need for goals, for planning for a future. But right now I'm pretty clearly on a pillar, a single pillar that isn't going anywhere. I know I'm going to keep standing on this pillar, in this place, for a good long time. So I might as well focus on it, right?

On an entirely different note, yesterday I saw a scorpion in my house. Interestingly, it was on the wall behind my chair, just in the same place as where I remember the first one being, sometime about a year ago. I hit it with my shoe, although not too hard. I found it under my bookcase, tail uncurled and twitching. Ok, I thought, not quite dead but I don't need to get guts on my shoe, it'll die soon. I went to get the dustpan to scoop it up, but the moment I touch it, it scrambles away behind my bookshelf. Well damn. I tuck my mosquito net securely around my bed and pray it dies overnight. Tonight I'm in my chair by my bookshelf. Something falls behind the shelves and a 2 inch long spider-thing comes scuttling around the corner towards me. I think this is my first sighting of a scorpion carrier, apparently called a camel spider by everyone besides Burkina PCVs. They can get to the size of plates, and the big ones are attracted to artificial light (ie your headlamp) so I guess I'm in luck because it scuttled back under the bookcase in a hurry. I hate spiders. Snakes I actually like. Mice are annoying but cute. Even cockroaches I can sort of handle, although if they crawl on me I will scream and shudder and immediately need to clean myself. Spiders are not ok. Small ones that stay up by my ceiling? I can live with that. But big thick bodied ones like this are creepy in every way. I've had a light trained on my shelves all night so I can see if it makes a break for the bedroom, and I will be very securely tucking my mosquito net tonight!

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