Sunday, August 9, 2015

Natural Beauty

The weather has turned slightly and last night I actually thought to myself "wow, it's chilly tonight." Then I came to my senses and realized that my new "chilly" reality was actually one in which I could comfortably fall asleep in a tank top and shorts without sweating to death.

Although it's the rainy season, it rained for the first time this afternoon (first time since I got to Adourékoman a week ago.) As I mentioned earlier, the lack of rain has brought on famine conditions here: the corn has dried up and the beans have shriveled. Only the cotton fields seem to be growing. Today's rain is a good sign though. And if it means there might actually be a harvest here, I can handle the goats and chickens following inside the house to seek shelter.

It's been a very relaxing weekend here. On Friday, Amanda and I decided to hike one of the local Collines. Much to everyone's dismay, we set off with Amanda's supervisor, who promised us that he would lead the way and bushwhack the path. Fortune drove me to our meeting point and dropped me off on the terre rouge, claiming a fear of heights and snakes (and we all know how I feel about snakes!!).

The Colline that we climbed was hardly a hike, but just getting out and being active was amazing. And, on top, the view was incredible. We could see all of the local villages, the camps set up by the herdsman, and the terre rouge going off into the distance.

Since it didn't take that long to summit, we hiked around the top for a while, played on the rock faces and explored each side of the Colline. Wherever we turned, the view only got better. It truly is beautiful here, especially with everything being so lush right now. 

After our little adventure, we were invited back to Roman's house (Amanda's supervisor in Kpakpa) for lunch. His wife cooked a great mélange of beans and corn while we chatted about life in our respective villages. It turned out that Fortune never went back to Adourékoman and instead visited his sister in Kpakpa, so I lucked out and caught a ride back with him. 

Back in village, I bid farewell to Daniel, who was off to visit family in Togo for the weekend. I joked about having abandonment issues and assured him I could definitely handle a weekend alone here. Before heading home, I visited Sabine and did temporary tattoos with all of her kids, which they love! (Lindsay brought 2000 temporary tattoos from Oriental Trading and they are perfect!)

Chez Fortune, we cooked a rice dinner and I read out loud to all the kids before heading to bed. Lindsay left me with a children's book that describes different religions including Catholicism (practiced by most in Adourékoman) and Judaism (moi and Lindsay).  These kids are going to know so much about Judaism and are fascinated by the holidays and traditions. It's great Goal Three in action!

I spent Saturday with Sabine at the health center. There was a constant stream of children coming in with simple malaria (not malaria grave), so we were handing out coartem like it was candy (but not really.) We talked about ways to reduce the number of malaria cases and how to best educate the population. I think Sabine will be a great counterpart for the women's group I plan to start when I return in September. 

I've been helping my host mom cook a lot and trying to learn the names of local foods, and where to buy them, in Idaasha. She speaks French relatively well, but my host siblings are always willing to help. Fortune's second wife has more limited French, so she has been helping with my Idaasha. She is also the mother of Tatiana, my 5 week old host sister, and they love nothing more than passing her off to me when I don't have my hands full. In fact, I have already been told that I will be holding her at her baptism next week. 

Sunday's are the slowest days in village, with most people attending mass in the morning. I chose to hang back today to play with the kids and do some laundry, which my host sister quickly took from me and proceeded to do at a rate exponentially faster than me. I was gifted a watermelon from a neighbor, so I cut it up and shared it with all the kids. 

Tonight, I'm learning how to make traditional beans and I promised the kids an English lesson. Off to start my fire and duck the pelting rain!

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