Tuesday, January 01, 2008
We went out for New Years Eve, the girls in tow. Severin was out in the bush on a camping trip, so that left just the five of us. We had arranged to meet some friends at a Chinese restaurant downtown. Yes, there is Chinese food in Ouagadougou. I can't say that it's really good. It's kind of difficult to get the ingredients they need, except maybe for dog, but I really don't want to go there...
We got dressed up and headed into town. But the minute we sat down, Mallory ran over to me and whispered "My chickens! We forgot to shut up my chickens!" This was indeed a matter for concern, as her flock has recently been ravaged by some predator- probably feral cats. Two nights ago, JP and I heard a rukus out in the animal pen, so we grabbed some flashlights and went to investigate. We only found three of Mallory's four chicks (well, they are more like teenager-chickens at this point). No feathers or blood, just gone. Even worse, in the morning, there were only two. It was then decided that all the chickens had to be shut in at night - but somehow in all the excitement of a trip to the Restaurant du Chine, we forgot. So, that was a concern, but I had more pressing problems. We had come late to the gathering and the others (an all-American missionary crowd) had decided to segregate the seating. There were all the women at one end and the men all at the opposite end of the table. The center was occupied by a hoard of small children. After one look at the table, JP shot me a look of the acutest misery. He's an anthropologist and knows that foreign cultures have their own customs, but he finds this particular one very painful. He sat down among the men and they tried to draw him into the conversation with such gems as "What's your favorite winter sport? and "Where are the next Olypmics being held?" Now, my husband loves to chat about politics, philosophy, current events...anything EXCEPT sports. I could see that action had to be taken. I somehow managed to convince the other women that the kids would be happier at a table of their own and the xx and xy camps could be combined.
Dinner was nice. We didn't have the elaborate, tasty-looking buffet though, which at 35$ per person was not getting many takers. We were at the restaurant from 7:30 to 10pm and in all that time saw only ONE group of people partake of the fancy buffet offerings. It was a wealthy Burkinabé family. Their two little boys were wearing suits!
At 10 we went right home to close up the chickens. They were all fine and Mal was much relieved. It had been weighing on her. That done, we continued on to K's house, to play Pictionary and eat chocolate chip cookies. Around midnight we all went out to light fireworks. K's dog took advantage of our distraction and pushed her way into the house. She wolfed down all the rest of the cookies and then washed them down with a whole container of grape Kool-aid. I'm afraid that poor Minuit spent the first few hours of 2008 with a bit of a belly ache from a junk-food overload.
This morning we had a visit from a group of griots- traditional musicians/praise singers. They go from house to house during the holidays, performing wherever asked. They sing a few songs, inserting the names of theirs hosts into them. Sanou and his fellow griots turned out to be from a village that JP worked in years ago. They were nice fellows and very fine musicians. Wish I had an mp3 to share with you. It was so good!
Happy New Year 2008, everyone!