Tuesday, January 8, 2013

happy belated new year

so, welcome to 2013. belatedly

having fortified myself with an egg sammie and cafe noir from Mohammed's Egg Sammie Emporium, I will endeavor to chronicle the events surrounding the most recent bonne annee

actually i have no idea what the egg sammie place is called, and i've been eating there for over 2 years.  it took me 8 months to learn that the owner's name is Mohammed

the new year was a lot of fun.  D came out on Monday to help me fete.  i bought a duck on sunday, rather spontaneously, because one can never have too much food on bonne annee.  Nor booze.  I sprang for a bottle of apple flavored vodka in Kara, and a bottle of Pastis here, as well as for some of those danish butter cookies like the ones that my parents get every year from their investment guy.  taste of the holidays

So, D came out monday afternoon.  We went out with Bry, Kevin, Amanda, Kadar, Usman, Janet, and some other people.  the crowd changed throughout the day.  D brought a 1/3 of a bottle of absinthe that I'd picked up in some airport.  Kader produced a bottle of Absolut Vodka from someplace.  that was a hit.  the absinthe was not.  even Pastis, another anise flavored drink, is popular here.

new years dawned with the sound of firecrackers.  I'm not sure where they came from, but they are wildly popular and come in a variety of types. 2 bang, 4 bang, 5 bang, 6 bang, 8 bang, 10 bang.  totally serious.
they are fun.  when the fuses work.  when they dont, you just throw them on a fire.

I found bottle rockets too.  made my month.

Everyone had been brewing tchakpa in Nampoch for the previous 2 days, so there was a lot to drink.  and to eat.  About 1500h, Ntido came up to me and was like "so, how you are going to help us fete?"  never mind the fact I'd provided a chicken, and a duck, and candy, and that my bottle of vodka was mostly gone.  "how do you want me to help you fete?" - "well, we're hungry, what should we make?" - "um, rice?" - "dont have any.  do something about this (implied)" - *sigh* "how much rice?" - "3 bowls should be good"  (that's enough for like 40 people).  she stuck with this estimate until i caved.  D laughed.  then once the rice amount was agreed upon-- "there isnt any oil either"  *double sigh*.  i wound up just giving her 10 mille and sending her to the store.  when Ntido, and friend, and babies, got back with their basin of spils, i counted the change.  they hadn't bothered to, and the boutique made 550 cfa.  bonne annee!  but on the bright side i was eating rice and duck for the next 3 days

after that, D and I went next door for tchakpa and a ball.  we danced the night away in the dust with kids, and Petit.  who was really happy by this point.

after that, i was feeling bored, so we lit off all the fireworks that i'd got in kara. 8 bangs are much more exciting when you lit 3 of them at once.  aside from this one kid who got so excited that he would always run in the same direction that i threw lit firecrackers, this was fun.  until i got to the sparkler part.  explosions attract kids.  especially explosions with lights.  so, when i wanted to give sparklers to Jidda, David, and Adah, i had like 40 kids in my compound.  and 8 sparklers.  I gave them out to my fam first.  then i gave the rest out to random girls.  one kid got pissed and was like "hey, why are you only giving them to the girls?"  probably cause they spent all day making food for you.  brat.    

Jan 2 dawned.  a bit more slowly than the previous day.  but the fete was on!  Bry came out.  after fufu breakfast, we walked over to Kpolobal, to chez Nicco, with Ntifoni.  Nicco is the president of the anti-forced marriage committee in Nampoch.  He didnt go to school, so his french isnt that good, but he's a great guy.  i named his youngest daughter Monic, after my sister.  So we got to his house and had tchapka.  then brandy.  then fufu with sauce.  then he brought out a whole pintade for us.  since D is a vegetarian, i had to pick up her slack.  Nicco always makes a ton of food when he invites us over.

After that we managed to walk back to Nampoch for our next social engagement at Kodjo's.  Tchakpa.  Good sodabe, rice with chicken.  Although Kodjo had gotten wagash for D.  by this time it was about 1500, and we called zeds.  then went back to my house.  Wine. rice with duck sauce (Ntido made it).  Richard came with friends, so he ate with us.  Then we went to Kouka.  And back out with Ganiou, Monoriou, Usman, and some other people.  Kadar was feeling anti-social so he stayed home.

Jan 3 eventually dawned.  And I have never seen Nampoch so dead.  tumbleweeds would have been blowing across the countryside, if they hadnt have gotten hung up on all the people passed out under the neem tree.  i think the village was out of tchakpa too.

one of the best new years ive had.  except for friday my congestion erupted into a sinus infection.  from the dusty ball i think. it got so bad that on saturday I sent a zed into kouka to get me antibiotics.  i love togo sometimes

we have our 17th pump scheduled for Thursday

if you want to get a hint of what life is like for the average rural togolese, ie poverty, watch the show Shameless, on Showtime.  yeah, there's stuff that not similar, but, when i watched it, i did not get that sense of alienation that i get when i watch a lot of current shows.

my cat survived bonne annee!  although he spent 2 days hiding in some dark corner of my house cause of the firecrackers

little doggie, however, did not.  her owner, not Petit, apparently wanted party money, so he sold her for fete food.  her two pups, smart puppy and stupid puppy, are both alive and well. i refused to eat her

i have the weirdest cravings here.  like last night i wanted something sweet, so i laid in bed and chain chewed gum that my mom sends me

this was after i ate bread and a carefully hoarded packet of nacho cheese for lunch.  the nacho cheese didnt go over so well with my stomach

i dont know if its because of the new year, or my impending birthday, or that today is my mom's birthday (happy birthday mom!), but recently i've become aware of how much time ive spent here.  Like David is talking now.  And his mom is pregnant again.  D noticed on New Years.  After my host mom had taken a couple shots of Pastis . . . .but yeah.  the kids are getting bigger.  my house is getting cracks in it.  my mattress is getting thin.  my clothes that i brought in 2010 are making the transition to rags.  my gas tank finally ran out. etc.  life goes on

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