Sunday, April 08, 2007

At 7am this Easter morning, I woke to the sound of Mallory’s urgent whisper : « Severin ! Severin! What’s a ….’Peep’???”
I heard his sleepy, patient reply: “It’s a small marshmallow candy, typically in the shape of a chick or bunny. Can I sleep now?”
The Easter Bunny passed by this morning, with help from my parents in the US, so there were a few exotic candies unknown to my younger kids. Mallory wasn't sure if Peeps were a food or brightly colored plastic toys. The candies were just left out on the dining room table, as we did all of our egg hunting yesterday at a US Embassy sponsored event. I had thought about opting out, as last year’s egg hunt had been decidedly miserable. The candies melted in the scorching heat, there was no coffee and the drinking water ran out early on. Imagine 40 young kids that have been eating jelly beans in 44°C heat with no water and tremble, my friends. I finally decided to risk going again this year, but wisely brought my own water supply, plus I had a coffee before I left home. And I was completely justified in my distrust. The only thing that saved them running out of water again this time was the cooler temperature. And there was no coffee. Because of the US Congress. It goes like this: The Congress slashes the State Department budget. The State Department takes it out of the Embassy operating budgets. The Embassy then gets a budget cut of 30% and has to figure out where to cut corners. The first things to get hit are the salaries of the local Burkinabé employees and the amenities of the little community events the Embassy hosts. Hence, no coffee and little water. Thanks Congress.

The good news? The mango rain came on Thursday, none too soon. For the week leading up to it, Ouaga had been suffering the most terrible dust storms ever. A yellow fog of grit covered the city, reducing visibility to just a couple of blocks, sometimes even less. It was very unpleasant. Even Goaty got sick. He was coughing. Have you ever heard a goat cough? Very disturbing. Also, he had a runny nose, which the twins lovingly kept clean with the better part of a box of Kleenex. That was also pretty strange. He’s better now, though. Which is good, as Goaty is getting married today. Yes, the twins found him a bride: Miss Midnight. She is dainty, with a glossy coat and she smells like a veritable rose. My girls were having such a good time with Goaty, that their friends’ mom was inspired to get her girls a goat as well, but she had the wisdom to opt for a female. So, as soon as Alexa has finished her homework, I have to drive over to pick up the stench-free Midnight and her lucky, lucky owners. The girls have been planning the wedding for a week. Once again, I am very, very sorry that my camera doesn’t work.

Last night, I drove to church with the car packed full. Ten people, plus hotdish casseroles for the supper afterwards. Severin’s two best friends were with us. I heard Daniel ask Valentine how old she is. “13, going on 14” she said.
Severin burst into song:
You are thirteen going on fourteen
Baby, it's time to think
Better beware, be canny and careful
Baby, you're on the brink
”, he sang in a very nice tenor.
He even knew the second verse!
You are thirteen going on fourteen
Fellows will fall in line
Eager young lads and rogues and cads
Will offer you food and wine”

His friends just looked at him tolerantly. I was just grateful that they are both sweet MK’s (missionary kids, for those of you who don’t know the expat lingo). More typical 11 year old boys would no doubt be harsh on a pal that bursts into show tunes at the slightest provocation.

On the bright side, maybe we can get him to sing "One Hand, One Heart" from 'West Side Story' for the upcoming goat wedding.


Leena said...

tell the twins i'm so disappointed to have not been invited to goaty's wedding... ;)
happy easter!

Anonymous said...

heh heeh heeehh, goat weddings in ouaga. if you could only see the funny grins over here just imagining it. than again, you are probably all doing your own funny grins in person!!! so, all the best to the new couple and their family, may they produce many sweet smelling baby goats in the years to come. and also to all the 11 year boys of this world who can sing without shame! yah! i myself belted some pretty joyful but terrible singing in church for easter today (new church for me, just discovered it a few blocks from my place). maybe i should have avoided such vigourous singing - sure, i got a few tolerant smiles from those around me but boy oh boy, i would love to see the change in their expression if i tried to join their choir, ha!
lu (aka, not an MK but a PK)