Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bits and bytes

A collection of thoughts today.

This morning I had a shower!! SO exciting! Thank you Hetty for the shower in a bag. It's a thing that you fill with water and it has a spout on the bottom that you can turn on and off. Yesterday I got one of the carpenters to rig something up to the ceiling so I could hang up my bag, and he also built me a stool to make it easier to get up and down. See the photo - the bag hanging is the shower bag, and below is the stool I use to hang it up. :-) The shower is great because I can bathe more quickly and I actually use less water than for a bucket bath. What a great gift!!

I think I have forgotten to mention that I now have an African name. When I arrived in Mapaki one of the elders told me that I would have to take an African name. I was christened Isata (eye-sah-tah) Conteh. Conteh is the Chief's family name. Isata is much easier for people here to say than Clare. The kids in Mapaki have already started calling "Isata, Isata" instead of "Opporto, Opporto" which is nice.

There is a big tree just outside and across the road from the guesthouse. Kouame tells me it is a Neem tree. In the tree live many bright yellow birds. Since I arrived, I have really admired this tree and loved the sound of the birds singing every day and every evening. However, yesterday I learned that these birds eat rice from the fields, and that farmers dislike them for this reason. I still think the birds are pretty, and enjoy their song, but it makes me a little sad to know that they also eat the food that people here need. I'll post a photo of the tree eventually. For any who like birds, this country is a birder's paradise!

Two days ago a young boy came to visit me in the guesthouse and asked me to take him to Canada with me when I go back. He is about 11 years old. I was quite surprised at this request – it’s the first outright request for help I’ve had in Mapaki. I’m sure he has no idea about what is involved in bringing someone to Canada, including the cost or the regulations. He did offer to work very hard for me and my family and to earn lots of money for us if I brought him to Canada. He told me that his father was dead, leaving his mother to care for him and his two siblings herself. I’m sorry that I couldn’t do more to help him, but I did share my breakfast with him, so at least that’s something. Carolyn told me that on the few occasions when people asked her about coming to Canada she used to joke and tell them that they wouldn’t like it because it’s so cold there :-)

Oh, one more thing - I got my first sunburn yesterday :-( Luckily for me it's not too bad, but it's my own fault for not applying enough sunscreen. Lesson learned for next time. I did have my rain jacket with me, but that didn't do me much good in the end, since the day was hot and sunny!

1 comment:

aj_levin said...

Hey, I want an African name too!