Saturday, December 22, 2012

blazes & bad brakes

as a US government employee, I get a mandatory flu shot every year.  this, unfortunately, does nothing to help my dust caked sinuses.  I biked into Kouka this morning and spent an hour sniffling and snorting like I was dying of something

Bry is letting me use her computer

So on the way back from Kara the other day, D and I were in a 5-place car.  It was once a Toyota hatchback.  It had 7 adults in it.  Anyway, we stopped along the road and dropped off someone.  Started up again, and something in the front, driver's-side wheel started screeching.  We drove until it went "clunk."  The driver did the Togolese "oOh" and pulled over.  He took the wheel off.  The brake pads dropped out on the pavement.  The calipers were hanging by a bolt.  The disc was pressed against the bracket that holds the front pad.  The driver was perplexed.  He flagged down another passing taxi. The drivers conferred as to why the disc was not where it was suppose to be.  They flagged down another taxi.  I was laughing a lot because that is about all that one can do in that situation.  The 3rd driver pointed out that the nut on the hub that holds the disc in place was loose and had creeped up.  The wheel was literally working its way off the hub.  To tighten the nut, indeed to decided on a solution, took a committee.  Like 10 people were standing around, including me, gesturing, pointing, and offering opinions on what was wrong.  The 2nd driver tighten the nut with a rock and a screwdriver.  A nail was eventually found to put through the locking hole in the hub so that the nut couldnt creep off anymore.  During all of this, someone (I had already pointed this out to D) noticed that the rear driver's side wheel had worn through the first set of cables.  Everyone thought this was funny and made the driver change the tired.  His spare was worn down to the the first set of bands.  All of the other tires looked like this.  Car was fixed, everyone was happy. And we got to Kabou just fine.

That was Tuesday.  I got home on Wednesday.  That evening I walked out of my house to answer the phone. I turned around to see that the near sky near the primary school was orange.  Then I heard screaming.  Then everyone in my quarter sprinted down the road to see what was going on.

Someone's fire had gotten out of control and had started burning a big straw awning.  The fire jumped to the thatched roofs of a couple houses.  Women were screaming and crying.  Smoke was everywhere. Kids were jumping around and yelling. Young guys, most of whom I knew, were climbing up on walls to knock down burning thatch before sparks spread.  Other people were running into the houses to pull out belongings.  Then a line of people with buckets on their heads pushed through the crowd and started throwing water on the fire.  It wasn't until they got there that they got the fire under control.  4 buildings were burned, rather the roofs were.  Mud brick doesnt burn too well.

That night one of my friends came over and was like "everyone in that quarter loves you.  if you hadn't replaced their pump last week, they would have had to walk to the river for water and everything would have burned down."

Yesterday, the chief of the quarter sent a delegation to my house with a chicken and yams.  they were like "we dont know how to thank you enough, so we brought you stuff to make good fufu."  Nothing like a timely pump replacement.

It is getting cold at nights now.  "cold" is 70 degrees.  I think the air feels chill because it is dry air off the Sahara desert.  Togolese wear coats.

Tadji must be cold too because he goes from sleeping next to my feet to sleeping wrapped around my feet.

Merry holidays

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