Wednesday, September 27, 2006

When I lived in Chicago, I loved reading « News of the Weird » in The Reader. I don’t know if this latest news from me is “weird”, but isn’t normal, at any rate.
1.) Say you are in Burkina and you want to phone a pal in Benin, Togo, or maybe Mali. If you dial directly, you will try and try and try and try. Only a benevolent intercession by a deity will get you a line through. BUT, you CAN get a line to the USA, usually. Weird, right?. Even stranger, if you have a call back system, you can ring a computer in the US that will phone you back and allow you to make outgoing calls on US lines. To make a long story comprehensible: to call Mali, you call Florida and Florida calls Bamako, Mali. It makes NO sense. It’s like a person in Nebraska not being able to phone to Iowa, unless they call through Moscow.
2.) Lumbago: weird, or what? I thought is was what old people discussed at nursing homes when digestive problems got boring. I thought I had many happy lumbago-discussion-free years ahead of me. But no, it’s on the conversational radar now.
Monday, I got a call from Mali (JP is there for work) and JP’s co-worker told me that his back was hurt and JP couldn’t walk. This was a very bad, non-Florida line, so I couldn’t understand half of what she said. That call left lots to the imagination…..polio? car accident? trampled by rabid camels? I spent ages trying to call JP. When I finally got through, he told me he’d thrown his back out. The dreaded "L"-word was mentioned and something about displaced vertebrae.
Now, several injections later, I am happy to report that he can walk a bit and will be home on Friday.
3.)Inter-racial fashion-tips. Just say “no”. Valentine was rushing off to school this morning . She flew past me to look in the hall mirror before going out to the bus. She looked a bit puzzled as she inspected her white pants.
“Umm, Honey? Are you wearing black underwear?” I asked cautiously.
“Well, yeah. Dorine told me that if you don’t want your underwear to show, you wear black ones.”
All became clear. Valentine’s best friend Dorine is black. And I then understood why Valentine was under the impression that purple eye shadow looks “natural” and a host of other puzzles. My glow-in–the–dark white teenager has been getting fashion tips from her black friends and African fashion magazines. And it’s not like I have been a resource of info on makeup and such. I did share with her the idea of matching the skin tone, though, so we got the undergarment situation under control.
4.)This is weird in a very bad way. Alizeta is in a lot of danger from her crazy husband. She came in to work on Monday and told me that her he has been threatening her with a knife. He stands outside the gates of her brother’s house (where she is living now) and threatens to kill her when he gets a chance. He blames her for Safie’s death. Fortunately, her family is trying to protect her. But things could easily go badly.
The file is not yet finished, so it's not at the Palais de Justice (courthouse) yet. Safie’s death is still being investigated.......

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