Tuesday, October 24, 2006

School Starts

School started for real today. I have been teaching semi-informally for three weeks now, but all the kids are coming to class nowadays so we can actually start. I was happy to see that my biggest class only has 50 kids, which really isn't as hard to teach as it sounds. They also really, really love to play Hangman. I can't figure out why. I even give them the option to leave but they insist on staying and playing another game.

I have a mouse, ant, and cockroach infestation, which shows no sign of abatement, despite the fact that I seal everything in plastic jugs. I have no idea why they don't all starve. Everytime I wipe down my table with bleach the ants just come out on it to look for food, not dying for some unknown reason. I have to step on them three times before they capitulate.

I bought two poison tablets to put on some food for the mouse, but I left them out when I went to bed, and I awoke to find that the mouse had chewed through the tablets and spilled the powder all over my living room. The next day I left out some different poison on a fish. It ate the entire packet of poison and didn't die. I'm considering getting either a cat or a machete.

Otherwise, I really like my post. I found a store in my village that sells hotdogs and another that sells canned tuna. It's strange what's available here, if only because I never expected to be able to buy such things in a village. I can also get soy flour, meaning my goal of achieving an intimidating level of muscularization may yet be achieved.

On Market Day, pineapples go for around 10 cents, unless you buy them later in the day, when he price skyrockets to 25 cents. Eggs used to be 12 cents but someone who brings them got sick, so it went up to 13. The Peace Corps tells you to try and live humbly and at the level of the people you live with, but my neighbor told me if I negotiate everything and don't throw my money around, everyone will think I'm a 'bad yovo', since I'm supposed to be rich, and if I'm not, something must be wrong with me. Still, I'm not planning on taking his advice.

I'm going to buy two 'yovo chickens' tomorrow. I don't know what that means, but my neighbor said it's like a really big chicken that's too fat to run away when you chase it (I'm wondering if that's a commentary on Europeans or if it's just an imported species). Apparently it gives massive eggs, which is why I'm getting it.

Reactions to me speaking Fon are mixed. Some people respond to me in French or ignore me, and others act as if I just gave them a tasty cake. Using it in class is fun, since the kids usually get all riled up and start cheering. Though one class ignored it completely. They told us during training that older people generally are impressed by local language skills and kids don't care, but it seems that age isn't a factor at all. There are about four kids who come over at random times to help teach me.

On a parting note, one thing I love about being here is that I can ask a room full of volunteers I've never met to help me out with the logistics of pooping in a cup (for a stool sample) and it never even occurs to anyone what a strange inquiry that would normally be.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I Love People Magazine

I don't think I've read a funnier publication. My predecessor left me a box of old magazines, and out of boredom, I read them all during the week before school started. Now I wish I had rationed them.

My cell phone tower got turned on the other day, so I have reception at my house now. It recently occurred to me as I was texting someone while on a motorcycle that I have no idea what the Peace Corps was like in the 60s.

I'm going to be getting a camera in a month or so.

Things are going well otherwise, though I have a couple infestations to take care of.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Goodbye, Sprinkles :(

Just as I started to appreciate the fact that there weren't any bugs in my latrine because the bat was eating them all, he came up out of the latrine as I was walking into it (scaring the crap out of me) and flew away into the night.