I thought that Nighan was pregnant again. I was wrong. She’s in heat right now. She’s been crawling around my house on her stomach with her butt stuck up in the air. Poor Tadji watches her bemusedly and develops stunted Oedipus complexes. Then he jumps on her and she freaks out and they fight. Its wonderful. At night she goes out and wanders around. I came back the other evening and Adji was making fun of her yowling in the bushes.
My clothes are disintegrating. My briefs are falling to pieces. My shirts are sprouting holes in already faded fabric. The armpits are well ventilated now. It is no longer a question of whether most of my pants are patched, but rather how much. My Chacos are sticked back together and run-down at the heels. My tailor in Kouka is, at this point, as well acquainted with my clothes as I am.
I sliced my foot on a bit of rusty wire in Kouka last Sunday. How I did it is a long story. I thought it was fine, but I got to D’s house last night, looked at the cut, and saw that it was getting red and juicy. I have become somewhat versed in foot infections since I’ve been here. And I have become painfully aware of the limits of the antibiotic cream that one smears on every minor laceration in the States. It is kind of amazing here how fast an infection can dive under your skin and thumb its gooey nose at every topical ointment to which it is subjected. Volunteers walking around with suppurating sores, especially on their feet, from minor blisters and scrapes is not an uncommon sight. Flies regard these as fine dining. This is more annoying that anything. I can buy antibiotics here easier than I can a soda in the States.
Togo has long had the reputation for having the best beer in West Africa—a legacy of its German colonial heritage. Personally, I think that Ghanian beers are on par with Togo’s now, but that is beside the point. Anyway, there are two breweries in Togo, one in Lomé, the other in Kara. The one in Lomé has apparently broken, thus nearly halving the country’s beer selection. Sadly, the half that is no longer in production—Flag, 33 Export, and Castle—are my favorite three.
Bulldozers and graders are creeping up the Kouka/Katchamba road, almost to the Nampoch intersection. Now, when I take that road to Kouka, I can see the mountains of Bapuré silhouetted on the skyline.
My friend Karim, who is a saint, sent me a box full of salty crunchy stuff. I am happily crunching on wasabi peanuts as I write this. The box apparently went from London to Burundi, at which point no one could find Togo, and back to London. Karim explained the realities of geography to the post and re-sent the box. It arrived swathed in Togolese Poste tape and slightly smashed, but its contents were still salty and crunchy. D and I promptly ate this box of stuff called “Cheese Straws.” I shared with her because I am a nice person too. Heaven, for 10 minutes, descended on Binaparba.
The most annoying thing about going home after being anywhere else in Togo, aside from having to sweep out my house immediately, is that I have to feed myself. I go from eating 3 meals a day in Kara, or Lomé, or at D’s house to having tchakpa for breakfast, popcorn for lunch, and bread with BBQ or hot sauce for dinner. I just cant be bothered to feed myself. Sometimes Ntido takes pity on me and feeds me pate, or Petite brings yams back to make fufu, or I send Ntido to the store with 2 mille and instructions that everyone is eating rice that night.
D makes this amazing peanut sauce tofu stir fry. I dream about it when I am sitting on my porch sourly wishing my stomach had an off switch.
The other day, Kevin asked me how many books I have read since I’ve been here. The last time I counted, I had been here like 6 months and I was sitting in Alisha’s house at the time. I counted something like 40 books on her shelves that I’d read, not counting the ones at my house or elsewhere in country. In short, I’ve read many.
Petite took me out for a beer the other night in celebration for him getting his cotton money. We spent most of the time talking about how its not raining in Nampoch right now.
I have reached the point in my service where, every time I see another Volunteer now, I have to ask myself if I will see that person again here.