I am sitting in a rooftop bar in Bassar. D is trying to relearn math for the GRE next to me. She is talking to herself and just pounded her pen on the table. I think this is a bad sign.
This bar, Mandela, is nice because the rooftop section is somewhat secluded, especially at 9 am. Downstairs, local notables are drinking beer and flirting with the waitresses. Upstairs though, its private enough that we can use computers/internet without attracting a lot of attention. This is good because D's house currently doesnt have power (dispute with the landlord) nor good reseau (no internet). When I am feeling pensive, I can look out over the tree studded hills to the low mountains. Or I can when its not harmattan. Right now I feel like Im in mistworld or something.
I had to run across the street to a little booth to buy Togocel credit so that I could get online. Two guys were there. I said hi to one guy in french and to the other guy in Bassar. They started talking about how awesome Peace Corps Volunteers are and saying that Togolese would never accept to go to another country, live in a farm, and get eaten by mosquitoes just to help other people. Most of that last sentence was a direct translation. I think I blushed a little.
The other day I was sitting on my porch when Jacques came by, fresh from the champ. He had this beat up messenger back with him and a big smile. "look what I found!" Reached in his bag and pulled out a spiky ball about the size of a large grapefruit. "WTF?!" is a good approximation of my reaction. I took the ball, gingerly, and realized that the stuff under the spikes was skin. then I rolled the ball around until i found a beady little nose amidst the spikes. it was a hedgehog. Jacques was almost bouncing up and down "they are really sweet! they have a lot of fat!" direct translation. He tried to pry it open with his khass but it wasnt having it. Then Jacques was like, "Im going to take it home and cook it, and you can have some."
Jacques came back in about an hour with something that looked just like how I imagined a grilled hedgehog should look. He got Adji to pound some pepper and salt, then he pulled the hedgehog apart and gave me some. I think it was a leg/shoulder and some ribs. Maybe. He was right. It was fatty. Really gamey fat. I nibbled on the meat a little and thought that it tasted like tender squirrel. Then I gave the rest to my cat. He was happy. Lizard is much better.
There are days when life here frustrates the ______ out of me. Like yesterday. I called a zed to come take me to the station in Kouka so that I could catch the morning car to Kara. I got to the station at 830, bought my ticket, claimed a seat, then went into Kouka for an egg sammie with Bry. About 930, the car rolled into Kouka. Got gas . . . . went to the police station to pick up a cop with some version of an AK-47 that looked older than I am (pour votre securite) . . . . then stopped to pick me up . . . .then went down the road about a k and stopped to pick someone else up which resulted in having to repack the top of the car . . . . .then we left. Because of the cop, who had to ride shotgun (with an assault rifle), I was stuck on the seat between him and driver. No padding. And we went slow. Really slow. Passed through this one village after Kabou and started a goat along the road. A little goat. He spazzed out and took off running. Alongside the car. Passed us. With enough room to spare that he cut across the road in front of us. The driver didnt even have to brake.
With the ever expanding new road, the trip to Kara is a little under 2 hours now in a direct car. It took about 3. I might still be a little bitter about it.
But then Kader took me brought me from Kara to Kabou that afternoon, and I caught car to Bassar really quick. D had a candlelight dinner-- stir fry and eggrolls-- waiting on me when I got to Bina. So the day ended well.
here is an article about harmattan with pictures of the dust cloud over the Atlantic. here is another.
I love my cat. I really do. My pride in his accomplishments is only slightly diminished when he brings said accomplishments into my bedroom at 00h00 to play with them, noisily, before eating them under my bed. Nothing like being lulled to sleep by the crunching of mouse bones.