Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Now there is a homish place to go to, and we've been cooking dinner and it feels more humane. The beef here is actually pretty good, its just that whenever we have any it is scorched beyond recognition. Finally got a fillet (no idea what part of the cow) the other day and cooked it on the hibatchi thing after marinating in some teriaki Ann made. Tasted lifelike.

Ann and I walked to the market the other day to check it out. There is a gutter on one side that's about 2 feet deep. It creates an effective nausea barrier. If it were in a video game you would lose about 2% health for every second you stood within a foot of it and it would emit a greenish haze. On one side you smell human fecal matter, and when you step over it changes to a refreshing odor of rotting meat. This mixes with the pervasive dead fish smell beckoning you deeper into the market and finally a nice wash of body odor and trash fire completes the milieu. There was a random assortment of plastic bottles on the ground, 12oz orange juice, 20 oz water, 1 liter water, etc. just laying there, in front of some stall selling something brownish green in 10 gallon diesel containers (not diesel). The little plastic bottles looked like garbage to me, but the lady in front of me picked up the 12 oz empty orange juice bottle (with top!) and was carefully inspecting it. I saw the stall guy seemed to be somewhat attentive to her and realized it was for sale. Don't know what something like that goes for in Kibondo but I'm sure a smart shopper can find a real bargain.

We also found board shorts for $2 and actual designer labels. I'm pretty sure there was a t-shirt in there from every state in the US (and most of them spelled correctly).

I wandered into a hardware stall and once my eyes adjusted to the darkness, there was an electric guitar. It had 200,000 written on it in red magic marker (thats like $176) and a piece of twine for a guitar strap. It weighed about 48 pounds and had no markings of any kind. It's the only guitar I've seen in Kibondo, although Ann tells me the refugees make them. Having no amp, I decided not to buy it.


Anonymous said...

Your Dad and I continue to be humbled by what you and Ann are doing. The descriptions and the smells make me wonder if I could ever help humanity when some have so little....yet they can still smile and dance and sing (I hope).Your dedication and giving makes my heart full.....Love you both and miss you sooo much. MomO

Dannyo said...

It's been a week +. You can't leave us all hanging like this. Yes, I know, you have important work to do, but all us American weenies are sitting here in our sad unimportant lives wondering when the 4th installment of Lord of the Rings is coming out!!!

Throw us a bone. Raven leg, something.

Seriously, everytime I read this blog, I reconsider my perspective and take joy in life if only because I'm related to you. You're writing a symphony here and it is beautiful, sad, breathtaking, pick an adjective.

Had a dream two nights ago. Suspect it's telling me to start living or something:

I dreamt last night that I had died. (no kidding)
Walking down a sidewalk with nicely groomed parking strip and turning a corner I realize my funeral is about to start and I'm not there yet...
It hits me, “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this moment.” So I start running… don’t want to miss this, right ? Answer all those questions, who shows up?, how many people?, how do I stack up to Gandhi? Who’s giving the eulogy? All these things run thru my non-carbon-based I-don’t-know-what-based mind.
I arrive at the entrance, a nice grassy field with an archway leading into the mourning space, which is a nice outdoor space I approve of and I see my old clarinet (my daughter’s now) lying there along with a totally random (to me) soccer ball and some other things I don’t recall.. Bunch of folks still milling about haven’t entered yet and hey… at least I’m not late for my own funeral.
I spot my brother, Reed, outside the arch and he’s about 12 for some reason (43 now) and I start talking to him. He immediately tells my Mom that I am with them despite my pleas to the contrary. Diane (my mom) hear’s these pleas and I see her go white as a ghost. Fascinating to me, as I’m the ghost. I shut up for fear my Mother will die at my funeral because I couldn’t stop talking about this trip.

The dream ends here, before I could find out who showed! Or anything else! Weak.

Hope all is well with you guys. We miss you tons!

dannyo said...

Forgive me for pirating your blog. But we just had a much too close encounter with an African-size arachnid. Our own domestic arachi's which we choose to live with in harmony punctuated occasionally with destitute fear.

I'm sitting on the couch watching the replay of the Mariners trouncing of the Orioles (which, I've just discovered, replays are the best way to watch a baseball game because they only air the innings in which runs score or incredible plays are made). Marley (& Rocky, Julie) comes down to join me a moment before bedtime and she notices the arachi on the bookcase a foot away.

"What is that?" She jumps up and then relaxes because it's so big, "Wait, that's not real.... is it?" Then tenses up and moves away. "Is it?" Voice rising, her movement quickening as she begins to climb over my back, backwards, with the creature still in view...pointing. I finally tear my attention away from the boob, and focus on the vicinity of her attention. Not seeing it at first because its size does not compute with my brain.

Slowly, my mind conceives a large spider-like shape and has to wide-angle back to focus... after which my entire body does a wide-angle back causing Marley to scream, "IT IS!" Which morphs into her ear-splitting girl-scream which I find both admirable and appropriate to the situation. I feel Rocky leaning on me, pushing me in the wrong direction…”Where? What is it?” into my ear. Julie doing the same thing as I point directly at the behemoth, Marley now standing halfway up the stairs peering down awaiting her girl-friends eventual frlight up the stairs with her leading the way, leaving me to do my man-thing wishing I was in front of Marley. No early bedtime tonight.
Peering at the interloper, I am amazed it has grown so big and despite my fear I come to admire the creature, while I skitter about looking for an appropriate vessel to capture him in, simultaneously yelling to Julie to do the same. She offers a ridiculously small jar, pissing me off while she giggles running back up the stairway.
An appropriate container is found and the standoff begins. Arachi hasn’t moved since its’ discovery making me hope-dread as the glass-shield approaches. It moves with South American alacrity behind some books, causing a Mexican dance of my own. “Flashlight!” and some dainty book removal results in a capture with a very heavy book on top.
After I walk upstairs with an empty glass asking if they want to see it, screaming at the top of their lungs “NOOOOeeeeeaAAAAEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” I deposit him outside.
Later, Rocky says to J, “Ever seen a spider in bed?” “Never.” She lies. “Do you promise one will never come into our room?” Julie hesitates. Marley, “Just say no. Just tell us no, it won’t happen!” “No.”
I later receive similar grilling except w/ the ‘stick a needle in your eye’ vow attached. I lie big-time while still trying to shed the willies I’ve acquired… They’re sleeping in our bedroom tonight.
So how big are the spiders in Africa? We’ve seen the cockroaches….
Much love,