Yesterday morning was spent running errands, checking up on the painters at the house and visiting friends. Our good pals of Goat Race video fame are back from California for a short visit and it's so great to see them. (Check YouTube for the video if you haven't seen it. the search 'Ouagadougou goat race' unearths it nicely.)
Then Saturday afternoon was the goodbye party for me over at the Papiers du Sahel project. I'm leaving them after eight years, so I definitely felt it was an affair to mark with a celebratory meal and speeches. I contributed the money for the food and requested rice with beans. But the ladies had different ideas of what constitutes 'festive' and bought dried fish to cook up with the rice.
The dried lake fish here is black, smelly and often has maggots.
I'm just saying.
The real big event was the soft drink each of us got. That made the party. My kids were happy to have the cool Cokes on a hot afternoon, that's sure. But for the Burkinabe children it was really a huge event. A soda is something that you get a few times a year, if you're lucky. I knew one little boy that got an Orange Fanta as his Christmas gift one year. That's it - a bottle of orange soda. These kids were thrilled, but very well mannered. All the adults got served first as they waited patiently, as is the norm here in Burkina. 'Women and children last' is kind of the general theme in family and social life.
Anyway, everyone got their soda and rice and a (pretty) good time was had by all. It was about two hours of sitting outside with hoardes of flies buzzing around. And while I did my best, perhaps my speech was not All That. But there you go.
That night, JP and I went out to dinner with friends and then out to shoot a few games of pool. Maybe I seem to write that easily, but it's not a phrase that falls trippingly from my keyboard. I'm not much of a pool person. The last time I played was probably at the Cowboy Bar in Jackson Hole Wyoming in 1987. And I haven't missed it. Really.
That said, it turned ot to be kind of fun, especially watching JP suffer through it all. If I may be said to be 'not much of a pool person', we could say that JP is 'the complete and utter antithesis of a pool person'. He actually played pretty well, but found it profoundly boring.
So, I guess we won't be buying a pool table for our house in France.
Despite the late night last night, we were all up early this morning. We had to be out at the Koubri monastery for the morning mass there. Brother Adrian himself had invited JP to bring the family out and JP found the offer irresistible. The downside was that the mass was two hours long and completely in Moore, which neither JP nor our children speak at all. And even I was at a bit of a loss, as I hardly speak it at all. I recognised about 25% of what was said. But at least with that, I could amuse myself by trying to guess which bible verses were being read. And during the homily, I listened very carefully, imagining that the priest was speaking a mixture of English , French and Moore. I just filled in all the blanks with what the word sounded like in one of the other languages. It worked great! In fact, I'd SWEAR that he said at one point;
'God spoke and there were mice. But they knew tai chi and there were problems. When the kangaroo is at the tomb all day - that's all. It gets better as God blesses them. Amen."
That's just a rough translation, of course.
Brother Adrian? Hard to describe. Our codename for him is 'HS' (Holy Smurf) Not that he is blue and featured in an animated cartoon series. But he is very, very short and has a very, very long white beard.
After the service, he took us on a tour of some of his favorite reservoirs.
That was sure exciting.
The kids sure thought so. Boy howdy, after a person sits through a two hour service in another language while being stared at by 300 or so curious people, he/she likes nothing better than to drive around the bush squeezed into a tiny car, touring small manmade bodies of water. Yessir. Nothing beats it.
I'm going to go lay down a bit.
More from me soon- maybe tomorrow.