Monday, December 6, 2010

Town and Country

I leave the village for one night , and one of my friends ends up in the hospital with malaria (and enjoys telling  me about the shots he had to take in his butt), the other spends the night in jail for chasing down a burglar but then he beat him up pretty bad.  Are they trying to tell me i shouldn't leave town? 
     I went to CKY to have tea at the ambassadors.  If you don't know anything about inviting PC folk to a nice function know this:  have lots of good food for the vultures to devour. PC volunteers have wide eyes and bottomless stomachs like hungry puppies.  We've been deprived too long, we look forward to the simplest of pleasures i.e. mixed nuts. Granted we may have been handed these on the plane or as a cheap snack in a bar and completely overlooked them before, but now when the lack of good food reaches all time highs, these simple snacks are golden. Worth fighting for really. Turn you're back and its gone.  Yes we are pathetic, but this is what we get reduced to.  In fact, I distinctly remember a time my mom called once while I was in Mali, and I was at a Mexican dinner where the food was just being put out.  I told her to call me later, otherwise I knew all the food would be gone, and this was a risk I wasn't about to take.  So anyway, needless to say, the tea in Conakry was a big success. We even made off with dinner napkins stuffed with cookies, mini-quiches, toasted almonds and the like - to be rationed out and consumed at a later, desperate time. The ambassador makes a hell of a 'purple punch' too.  I've been told it can be used to fuel the jets if the country runs out of fuel - I'd guess its been tested before.
           Its nice to be missed when i get back to village.  I walk around and make the rounds, telling everyone how Conakry was and how much i ate.  People love to hear any story that includes 'good eating.'  I walk with my friends to go check out a spot along the river, but its overgrown, so we turn back.  Its dusk now and i stop to watch the cranes flying into my favorite baobab tree.  I'm instantly reverential and in awe of nature.  This scene puts me at ease - I could do this every night.  When we get to the road, young boys are out practicing hiphop moves right in the middle of the street. Breaks, holds, and spins, they're full of energy and have found there own slice of freedom. 
        We get back to the 'stoop' (yes, the ghetto tradition has its roots here : ) and I'm asked to talk about the US.  I explain how its further between NY and Cali (6hr) by airplane than from Conakry to Paris (5hr). Ilove this comparison because people can start to picture the vastness of the states; and also understand that, although I'm from the states, I'm not going to know XY and Z relative or friend in NY or Florida.  Then something comes up and I hear one say, ' the 52 states.' And they say 'yeah, 52 states in America.' Apparently the geography teacher here has been teaching them this.  I remind them that the US flag has 50 stars so we'd have to change the flag if we got a few more states.  Anyway, even though its basic info, they're real interested in all of this.  They feel like they don't really get the 'full scoop' here and are eager to get some outside perspective.  Glad i can be of service.  When its all said and done though , we're really teaching each other.    

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