I helped carve pumpkins with Stefan's class at the French school. Ahhh... the universal appeal of Halloween: costumes, candy, jack-o -lanterns, screaming "trick-or-treat." I know Americans didn't invent Halloween, but we did make it into the goofy thing that it is. To me, this school celebrating Halloween shows something about how easy it is to embrace American culture. Why do do we celebrate Halloween? Because it's fun--that's reason enough for Americans.
Monday, Peter's bid list had to be in. Hopefully it all got sent in right and we won't be sent to Ickystan by default. Hong Kong and Domincan Republic were last minute options that we decided against. Let the bidders remorse begin. "Anywhere but Africa," was Camille's request. Stefan wants somewhere with snow. Check back for the actual ten-city bid list, which we will be posting soon.
I have a bunch of dolls done and plan to open a store at Etsy.com. I'm really excited about this prospect.
Last night Peter was up all night giving IV fluid to a patient with amebas.
Stefan's teacher said that she asked if any students could describe Halloween. Stefan's waved his hand wildly, was called on and announced that it's really weird, but it hurts when he pees.
Today we went and demanded restitution from Air France for the ill-fated lost bag. First they have to make sure it isn't in their lost and found in: Dubai. We really felt like we had accomplished something, just getting to Air France and talking to a person.
Our 400-pound consumable shipment arrived and kids ate three kinds of cereal for lunch.
Camille is playing at Bethany's house, Peter and Stefan are swimming, Leopold baked us two of the biggest loaves of challah I've ever seen. it's Saturday, I'm knitting. The sweater I started in Davis and was working on here in Mount Shasta is finally being blocked. I am so in love with Frog Tree alpaca that I ordered more today.
Here's my inspiration, my gorgeous nieces, Alison and Natalie. Pretty soon the one that's round will be skinny and the skinny one will be round.
Baseball tournament at the Embassy this weekend. As we are driving in, Stefan sees the teams on the field. "Baseball is like tennis, right?" he asks.
Our favorite part of the tournament: camel rides.
On the way home from school yesterday Stefan says, "There are three people at school I hate, Adam, Walid and Abdoul-Karim." Peter and I start in on a short lecture of how "hate" isn't a good word to use. "Oh!" Stefan says, winding down the window and waving manaically at someone like a friend he hasn't seen in one hundred years, "There's Abdoul-Karim! Hi! Hi, Abdoul-Karim!"
I always loved that line in "Out of Africa" where Meryl Streep/Karen Blixen says, "the african moon, lying on her back."
Here in Niger the moon really does lie on it's back. It doesn't wax and wane side to side, but top to bottom.
And we are so close to the equator the sun goes down about the same time every night, and comes up around the same time in the morning, all year. It contributes to the disorienting feeling of not having any seasons. The sun blares brightly when the kids go to school in the morning, and goes down between 6:30 and 7 pm, on Christmas eve, the last day of school and today.
Last night was the 27th night of Ramadan, Lailatoul Quadr, and everyone took turns praying all night, you could hear the prayers from the mosque, under the African moon, laying on her back.
After a very busy month of cold and flu in the clinic, I was surprised at how it seemed to just Peter out (I never quite knew why my name got assigned that phrase)! By Thursday, I was looking for things to do. And Friday seemed like it would never end. Dina spent the morning at the orphanage. After work, we had lunch and she relayed the story Sister Brigitte told her about how difficult it is to get a birth certificate in this country. Orphans are shunned. Without a father's name, a certificate of birth is rarely issued. One of the key reasons are rights which the orphan is denied. A male without his father's name, cannot become a leader in the mosque. A child born out of wedlock is considered a second class citizen, though no one will admit that.
Saturday was casual. I started reading a memoir Dina got glued to called, "The Glass House" by Jeannette Walls. It's about this insane family and how the kids are for the most part, completely ignored while they are growing up and how they manage to survive and turn out to be decent people. Later that evening we all went to the Hash with our friend Fabio. The weather was perfect. The setting was along a creek with lush vegetation. It was my first run since before I left for the States and both Fabio and I noticed how out of shape we had become. Dina and the kids walked.
Sunday was also calm. I read several NY Times and continued to obsess with that book. At evening time, we went to pick up Bethany, a friend of Camille's, and went to Cocochou. It's a closed off playground for kids with white sand and slides, climbing structures, and play houses. The porch has tables where you order food and drinks. There are also board games for older kids and adults. The grilled half chickens were spicy and salty but good. The kids liked the beef brochettes and french fries. I had a ginger juice.
It was the first weekend in a month that I didn't get any phone calls. Sometimes no plans for the weekend turn out to be the best plan.
Now we're back at it; the kids at school, Dina and I are working, and there are a lot of small things to do that if you don't will pile up and stress you out in the end. So I'm trying to stay self-motivated. Dina threw in a beef brisket into the crock pot. We had it for dinner with rice and red cabbage salad. Now I need to go read Stefan a bedtime story. Maybe the rest of the week will stay calm too.