Nov 29, 2009

Feasts, a Rice-Sized Surprise, and the Future

This weekend was fun and crazy all at the same time. I've been busy getting ready for exam week, which includes writing exams (which take forever) and totaling term classwork grades. I'm currently rebelling against finishing my last exam by posting this.

I've also been feasting . . . all weekend.
Thursday: Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, mashed potatoes, jellied cranberries, and good ol' pumpkin pie.
Friday: Sallah party (Muslim holiday) at a student's house. Jollof rice, moin moin (sort of like fish-flavored refried black beans that are . . . gooier), chicken, cakes, cupcakes, Kit-Kats, Snickers, and sparkling grape juice.
Saturday: Homemade pizza, pop, and leftover pie.
Sunday: Coconut chicken curry with rice, salad, and brownies at the Nampack compound (we go there fairly often to visit the South Africans with whom we have a Bible study).

Yesterday, I also happened to find a little treat which I did not feast on. It was hiding under the skin of my wrist. At first, I thought to myself, "Wow! This mosquito bite isn't going away. And it's starting to get painful." Then I thought, "Why does this mosquito bite look like it has puss underneath it? Maybe it's a pimple and not a mosquito bite." So I squeezed the "pimple."

Surprise! Surprise! What should pop out of my arm but a little white maggot. Luckily I had just woken up so my mind wasn't fully awake, or I very well may have thrown up all over my bedroom floor. As it was, I killed the grain-of-rice-sized maggot (unfortunately before taking a picture of it) and flushed it down the toilet.

Moving on to a slightly less revolting topic, this week is exam week and the production of our Christmas musical, Papa Panov. I'm not looking forward to either, because I don't feel ready for either. But after Papa Panov on Saturday night, I'm going to babysit two kids at the Nampack compound and spend the night there, as well as next Sunday. Then it's fun and games at school during the celebration of the end of exams. :) Next Tuesday I'll be going to the local 7-layered waterfall with my middle schoolers, then the next day I'll be jumping in a van with three more Americans and two Nigerians to go to a Christian retreat and then to Obudu Cattle Ranch, where we'll be climbing Mt. Cameroon. Which I'm not excited about at all. ;) Hope your week goes well and that you'll be able to remember Who is in charge of it all.

Nov 21, 2009

Holidays and Harmattan

So I found out a few days ago that I have a whole week less of classes than I thought I did. I was not aware that end of term exams (worth 50% of the students' grades) were less than 2 weeks away. I thought they were three. And now I'm scrambling trying to do a cumulative review and write said exams in such a short amount of time.

It doesn't help that there's going to be a Muslim holiday at some point this week - two days off. And that's right, we don't know when it will be. That's one of the more frustrating things about living in a country with so many Muslims - you just can't plan when you'll be working or not.

But, Thanksgiving is coming and I'm looking forward to celebrating it here. We've been working on a cornucopia for the bulletin board in the Middle School building and I've been teaching about American Thanksgiving and the traditions we have. It's interesting because I've not thought about our Thanksgiving traditions this much since I was in grade school. On Thursday we're having a half day (unless it's the Muslim holiday) and we'll celebrate as a school faculty. Then next weekend we're having a real Thanksgiving meal with the Americans we know well here in Ibadan (two Nigerian/American families, Karen and Equi, and us three American teachers). I'm looking forward to it, and we even found canned cranberries in the market (that are ridiculously expensive) so we'll be able to have cranberries, turkey, corn, and mashed potatoes. It should be fun!

One last thing to say before I head over to the market today, and that's this: Harmattan is upon us here in West Africa. Basically, the air gets really dusty and hazy, the rains cease, and nights get colder while days get hotter. Overall, I'm excited for the change in season because it helps me to think about the fact that Christmas is coming. And it gives some change to the monotony of the weather here. Every day is pretty much the same, but lately they've been different and that's kind of nice!

Well, I'm off to scour the market to haggle over the price of tomatoes, onions, peppers, groundnuts (peanuts), oranges, and hopefully some sweet ankara. I hope your weekend goes well and that this week is good for you all as you prepare for Thanksgiving!

Nov 16, 2009

"Get and Get Over Malaria." Check.

Malaria 0, Warren 1. That's right. Malaria is over and I'm now just working on dealing with a cough. Which feels like nothing compared to blacking out, vomiting, extreme chills (sitting in the hot harmattan sun and still feeling cold), fever, extreme fatigue, aches, and a prodigiously runny nose.

This weekend I went to RCC which is a compound for Israelis who've been brought here to work for the government. The compound is . . . beautiful. Lush. An actual neighborhood. I loved it. We had dinner together with four of my Jewish students and we broke the Sabbath bread together. I wore a yarmulke and we had a splendid time. Afterwards, we went out to the thatch roof bungalow in the front yard. Surrounded by canaries, parrots, and African art, we swung in the golden glow of the evening lights. It was serene.

One event occured that made me realize something about my relationship with God. When we got there, the father of two of the students wasn't home yet. When he got home, the fourth grade girl ran forward and he knelt down as she leapt into his arms crying, "Abba!" What an amazing picture of what God desires of us, and allows us to call him. I can't stop thinking about it.

This week should be a good week. Partway through next week we'll start reviewing for end-of-term exams on Dec. 7-9. After exams, I'll be going to Obudu Cattle Ranch in the east of the country. On December 18th, I'll land in Minneapolis until January 3, when I'll fly back to Nigeria.

Nov 10, 2009

Rx for David Macleop

Malaria and chest cold. And a million drugs prescribed (6 different kinds!).

First experience with a Nigerian doctor's office - surprisingly ok. I wouldn't want to have surgery here, but for clinic type of visits, not bad. The doctor was friendly and capable.

Oh yeah, I have a mohawk.