Thursday, May 22, 2008

$9786.44, Minor Knee Issues, and a Ceramics Studio

I have been putting off writing this until I felt a little higher spirited, but since that doesn’t seem to be happening I guess I will have to just forge ahead. I have been in a bit of a down mood since Saturday when I fell and cut my knee. If there is one thing that can really, I mean really throw me for a loop, it is some sort of physical ailment which I brought upon myself. I haven’t been able to run, play tennis, or ride my bike and it is killing me. I just don’t know what to do with myself and the days keep on slipping by. I have a million things I should be doing, but I can’t bring myself to want to do anything! It is a horrible feeling. Sorry to have to burden you with this, but I can’t be Little Miss Sunshine all the time you know… Anyway, Sara is in a slump and hoping she will snap out of it ASAP, because, honey, life ain’t waitin’ for ya!

Alright, enough of the introduction which turned strangely into a self pep talk… I left off last week on Tuesday. I have to admit I am having a terrible time remembering back that far. While it was only 7 days ago, it feels like months ago. Being in the depths of despair makes you forget life was pretty darn amazing just a few days ago. So, anyway, I’ll give it my best shot. Wednesday morning I got really up early and went swimming. I had made up my mind the night before to do this, but funny enough, my room was over air conditioned that night and in the morning I almost didn’t get up to go because it was too cold. But then I realized when I stepped outside it would still be hot, so I rolled out of bed, determinedly struggled to find motivation! It was a great idea; expect that the pool guy cleans until 8:30 and I didn’t know that. When I got in the pool at 7:15 he wasn’t super happy. However, I didn’t really care. I swam anyway and it was great! After I showered and got to the office, I spent some time proofreading my last post and posting it. I was just chillin’ in my office trying to do something when all the sudden someone knocks on my door. As I tell them to come in, I am sure it is going to be another awkward interaction in my broken French with a co-worker. However, I was pleasantly surprised when my co-worker stepped aside after getting my attention and introduced me to an American visitor to 2iE. Turns out he was U.S. State Department Regional Environmental Officer for West and Central Africa. Awesome. He is normally stationed in Ghana and was in Ouagadougou on a tour of the region. It was great to get to show him some of what I was working on and be able to talk to him about 2iE, ect. It is good to make contacts like that. When I am at Stanford and need a site where I can do my fieldwork I will hopefully have a whole list of names of people to contact :) Building that network…

Anyway, his visit didn’t last long and I was able to prepare my lesson for bible study. Unlike last week I hadn’t planned ahead and therefore spent the hour before getting myself ready to go! I had, however, thought far enough ahead to happily accept the extra cookies from the movie night to bring as the snack. I also stopped along the way to pick up some treats called “FanYoGo” it is basically yogurt that is frozen. Literally. Not frozen yogurt that tastes like ice cream. This is much more crystal-y; it is seriously yogurt in a small plastic bag that is frozen. I knew the shopette had them, but it was out of the way and I figured the little kiosk by SIM would have them too. Wrong! I had backtrack quite a bit to find them, but it was worth it. It was very very hot that day and the cool treat was much appreciated. In bible study we looked at Penitential Pslams, namely Psalm 51 where David is repenting. The lesson was really good. When everyone had left I rode my bike over to the pharmacy to finally fill my prescription for malaria meds. I got the prescription a week ago and kept on saying I would go. Well, Wednesday was D-day in that I had to take my next pill then, so I would HAVE to go get them! Anyway, it was no problem. The pharmacy had what I was looking for. Thankfully I have health insurance. An 8 week supply cost me 4310CFA or about $9. However, this was only 10% of the total price! Without the health insurance from my job I would have been paying $90… Ouch. Regardless, from the pharmacy I biked to Leanna’s to drop off a card for a girl who was leaving Ouaga the next day. She was having a going away party that night, but I didn’t think I would be able to make it. Leanna wasn’t home so I had to hide the card in the bushes. No problem, I would just send her a text message to let her know where to look. I rushed back to 2iE to get back in time for my French lesson. But wait, gasp, I checked my phone and Leanna’s message hadn’t sent! Yikes! After getting super mad at my phone I finally realized it was my fault because I ran out of credit AND to make matters worse I left my wallet at my house and my teacher was coming in 5 minutes. Never a dull moment. So I ran home grabbed my wallet walked out the gate and flagged down the first guy I saw to buy some credit. Gotta love Africa. I charged my phone, sent my message, and just about finished sending an important email just as my teacher arrived. Score. My lesson was great fun. Really, I was energized and ready to start talking. Yahoo. Yeah, yeah normally French is on Tuesday but because of the movie night and the meeting beforehand I moved it a day later.

Following my lesson I finished up some stuff at my office and went home. I watched the newest Grey’s Anatomy and debated going to the going away party. Since the other plan for the night was ironing my clothes, I decided to go. Ben came and picked me up. It was a nice gathering. I ended up being there later than expected and Leanna got there way late and I didn’t even really get a chance to say more than Hi to her, but it was good that I went. When I got home at like 10:30 I was still a bit mad at my Mom for not being around earlier in the day to talk, but instead of staying mad I realized maybe I should be putting in some more effort and so I trekked to my office, crossing my fingers my family would be home. AND they were! Yeah! I had a great talk with Ryan and then a really great talk with my Mom. I didn’t leave my office until 1am. It was a bit eerie walking back, but I made it and the conversation was well worth it. That night I slept amazingly and on Thursday I stayed home and did my work there in the morning.

It was great. I read a bunch of technical briefs on setting up a filter factory and then typed up a list of questions for the upcoming visit Nicolas and I would be making to the ceramics workshop. At lunchtime Ben came over and we had lunch in the cafeteria. It is always nice to have a friend join me to share a bit of 2iE campus life. During lunch and afterwards we hashed out plans for the end of year youth group retreat. All I can say is it is going to be awesome! In the afternoon, my friend Moulaye stopped by to invite me to a Cameroonian Cultural Night. It sounded like fun and I considered going, but had to email him and tell him no because it was same time and day as the Edge Service and I hadn’t gone to the Edge in a while with being gone for traveling and stuff…Also, Bianca was coming in to town and I wanted to hang out with her. So I made up my mind. At 4:00 I went for my tennis lesson. Again, I was on Fi-re ;) I got back in time to shower and have a nice dinner before leaving to get to youth group. I wasn’t teaching this week so I had the good fortune of simply showing up. Leanna did have me run the opening game which went just so-so. The girl who normally does it is so good at it, it was hard to live up to the precedent she set. That night we found out that the youth has raised $9786.44 for the 30 hour famine food distribution. They had set their goal at $5000 and that was a faith goal, pretty sure it would be impossible to reach. But nothing is impossible with God and he made that very clear. Let me also tell you there are about 45 kids in the youth group. You do the math. That is impressive work! I came back that night and read some of the two books I am currently digging into. The first is White Man’s Burden which is super critical of foreign aid agencies and really interesting. However, one can only take so much of that so I started the book “The Life of Pi” to read at the same time. Seems to be going well…

Friday. Oh Friday. I can’t remember Friday morning. It is probably inconsequential as I feel much of which I do these days is… At any rate, I was going to take Friday as a rest day from working out, but with the food distribution on Saturday I figured I would take that as my day off instead. So in the early afternoon I hit the gym. Hard. I ran 4 miles at an 8:30 mile pace which is pretty good. All week I was just rolling… I forgot my workout CD which was a bummer, but I prayed instead mainly for my brother who would be having his regional track meet that evening. It was an exhilarating run to say the least. In the afternoon, I went to the library and got some books I would need for my meeting with Pam on Monday. She is doing a “cable” (some embassy lingo) on water in Burkina Faso and wanted to talk to me about it. Since I know some, but not a ton I went and got some reports to base my contribution on. Friday was French lesson day again. Again, a positive attitude makes all the difference. I had friends coming over that night for a movie and not much to worry about so I just had a fun time arguing with my French teacher about any and everything…

In the evening I made myself dinner and watched a little Hannah Montana before my friends came over. When they did get here we made popcorn and Ben and Bianca chose Independence Day to watch. We made it all of 10 minutes into that movie and decided to change plans. Instead we watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers! Leanna and I bought it at the ISO Yard Sale and it was just the right upbeat and ridiculous movie for our group that night. I did have to borrow Susan’s transformer though because it was a VHS and Leanna brought her video player but it was only 110V. I bring this up because the transformer plays a critical role in Saturday evening’s fated fall. Oh, this totally does not fit into this paragraph, but one thing I really look forward to in America is finding toilet seats that match the size of the bowl. The seats here are frequently too big or too small or so crooked you wonder why they bother! but I digress… The movie was great fun indeed. Everyone left about 9:30 and instead of going to bed I looked over some of the books I picked up for Pam and then at 10:30 decided to watch The Pursuit of Happiness. I had wanted to watch that from the start so I decided that there was no time like the present and that if I wanted to watch it that is what I should do! So by golly I spent the next 2 hours of my life entranced by Will Smith’s unending dedication to making something of himself. I can’t say I shed any tears, by at one point my eyes did well up in emotion. So there… Again, I should have gone to bed but instead I read more of my books which seemed more appealing to me than sleep at that moment. I would regret that decision, however, in the morning when my alarm went off at 6:30 beckoning me to get my lazy butt up and over to the Harrison’s to leave for the grain distribution.

Saturday was an incredible day. About 30 kids showed up to help distribute the corn that had been purchased with all the money they raised. We were a caravan of white vehicles that made its way to Sector 30. Sector 30 is a very poor area of Ouagadougou. It is also where CAMA has a compound and has the facilities for a grain distribution. That morning they were dedicating a new Women’s Center and so we had to first sit through that whole ceremony. Blah, blah, blah… They are literally always the same thing. They thank every president, director and vice president in attendance. People come in late and the French to tribal language translation makes the thing last twice as long. Can you tell I’m not a big fan of these events? I mean really, these people need to get over themselves. Oh, but before the ceremony Rachel Harrison and I joined in an African dance. It was crazy cool. There were about a hundred African women all standing about in a circle and Rachel and I were in the middle with two other women who were showing us how to shake our behinds and stomp our feet the way we were supposed to. Bianca tried to take some video footage of me, but it didn’t come out because of the sun. Talk about disappointing. I would have loved to have shown you. I will include, though, a clip I took of the Africans dancing. It was choice. p.s. I borrowed Susan’s camcorder for this event. My plan is to make a short movie about it later!

Well, the ceremony came to an abrupt end and that meant it was time to start passing out the corn. There were 5 rooms where the grain was stored. The corn came in 100kg stacks of which we had purchased 200! Each person who received a ticket from the CAMA organization was entitled to two buckets full of corn. In total, 600 tickets were given out! The estimate is that 5000 people will be impacted by the food we distributed. That, my friend, is a lot… Anyway, it was bit chaotic as are most things in life, especially when something is being given out free. I walked around and took pictures and took video. I have posted 92 of them to my Picasa account and have them displayed above… I did also help with the corn which was cool. But there were enough people there and the kids wanted to do the work. It was really their thing. At the end, things got a bit harried. A few of the ticket collectors weren’t ripping the tickets and a few ladies came in a back door, and so the integrity of the system was compromised. The grain was gone, but there were still people there demanding food. Normally, they would have left, but because people showed up without a ticket and got food others thought the should be able to get the same. In the end, one of the workers started whipping a rope around to get the people to stop rushing that door to the last room where they were keeping 5 sacks. That was pretty traumatizing to some of the youth group kids. I don’t know what my problem is, but it didn’t really phase me. I should probably spend some time thinking through my reaction to everything. In the end you can certainly call the outreach a success and I was glad to have been able to help.

However, and you know that there was going to be a however… I still have problems with the free handouts thing. I mean really. $9786.44 could pay for schooling for hundreds of kids or even build a school for crying out loud. I just don’t know that giving people things like that isn’t more detrimental in the long run. Give a fish, or teach to fish. So I struggle with this. I can’t stand the thought of doing an outreach like that and then going back to my nice house and eventually my nice life in the US feeling all good inside about myself because I gave people two buckets of corn. Um, what happens when that runs out and we aren’t there to refill their buckets? Isn’t that making the poor people more dependent. But then again, they are hungry and is not feeding them an okay response? NO. So herein lies the problem. I feel like there is no way to win in these situations. But that doesn’t mean stop trying. I am often brought back to a quote from the movie Everafter. Not a movie you would think is super quotable, but it is. Anyway, the prince says that he used to think if he cared about anything he would have to care about everything and then he would go stark raving mad. But he realized he could start by caring about something and go on from there. I feel a bit like I haven’t quite moved to the point where the caring about something makes a noticeable impact. I care about water, that is my thing. I know that is my thing, but I can’t help but feeling puny and insignificant when I see all that needs to be done. I just want to do SOMETHING! But the problem I don’t know what that something is. My plan of action for the moment is listening; listening to the still small voice that directs my steps and dispels the mystery of tomorrow. Listening and waiting patiently so that I am humbled and ready when, like Esther, I am called to play my part in history. Whatever that part may be.

After spreading Christian love by giving out corn all morning, I uploaded the pictures onto my computer, ate lunch, and showered to get all the corn dust off of me and trust me there was SO much dust it made it look like it was snowing in rooms which is a ridiculous imagine in Africa during hot season, I know. I then promptly fell asleep for 3 hours making up for what I had missed the night before :) I slept like a baby. When I finally stirred I went to my office and had a great skype two-way webcam chat with my parents. I also got to talk to Jordan which was great. It had been a while since we connected. The results from his track meet were just as he had hoped for. Even better really. He won the pole vaulting competition with a personal record of 12ft. This means he will be competing at the Illinois State Track Meet. I am so proud of him! He also took 3rd in the two mile. His two best friends also made it down state so the triple threat still lives ;)

I got off the phone with them because Leanna was coming to get me to go to the Edge Service. At home I changed, packed my overnight bag, and got Susan’s stuff together to return to her. I didn’t have a ton of time, but I wanted to get it back to her as I promised I would. Anyway, I headed over and thankfully she was around. We chatted for a few minutes and I saw Leanna’s car pull up. At this, I said goodbye and ran back to my place. I hate to admit it, but what was going through my head at that moment was how cute my skirt must look billowing in the wind… (It is undeniably a really cute skirt.) However, as I was pridefully thinking way to highly of my appearance WHAM! My foot slid on a patch of wet ground from where the gardener had watered that afternoon and I was down. Not only down, but I had fallen against the cement rain trough filled with rocks. Not good. Frankly, I was more worried about the fact that my keys had flown from my hand and about the thought that my skirt was probably wrecked to really notice the gash on my left knee. Leanna got out of the car and helped find my keys. My skirt was miraculously without blemish. That is what I get I guess… However, the reality of my knee was setting in. I went in my house and washed up. I cleaned it out as best as I could and bandaged it up. It was a pretty deep cut, but I was like “oh its fine”. Here’s a tip, if it doesn’t stay together on its own 1. get stitches, or 2. at least track down a butterfly bandaid. I did neither and have paid dearly since. Saturday night I was still delusional that it was fine. I had pizza with Bianca and Leanna and we watched some of The Office after Edge. By the way, the Edge Service talk was really great. It was the final talk on grace and the speaker talked about the downward spiral of sin and the upward spiral of grace and obedience. I got a lot out of it. Anyway, we had a fun girls night and in the morning we got up and went over to Lorinda’s for a great Sunday Brunch of blueberry pancakes and hashbrowns.

Sunday morning, my knee was exuding some clear yellowish fluid which I thought was part of the normal healing process. Again, hint, yellow may mean proceed with caution when you driving, but what it means in the world of first aid is go get help. Lorinda looked at it too and we all decided it would heal fine on its own. After we finished eating and washing dishes, I played guitar and we all worshipped together which was amazing. It is for moments like those that I wanted to learn to play. From Lorinda’s we drove Bianca to the bus station and then Leanna dropped me off at home. I worked on stuff for my meeting with Pam the next morning and made beef stroganoff I was planning to have for dinner. Then I went and called my family for the second time this weekend because my knee thing was pretty ridiculous. I was so mad at myself for being so stupid! If I had just remembered the wet spot was there. I actually noted it in my mind when I first crossed my yard to get to Susan’s. But I was being vain and I feel like this injury was God whacking me over the head. Thanks, I get it now. No more thinking I’m hot stuff because as soon as that thought crossed my mind, WHAM!

Sunday night I watched Phantom of the Opera. I borrowed the DVD from Leanna. It was a movie I have wanted to see for a long time, but never had the chance. Well, my pity party for myself afforded me just the opportunity. So I watched this very intense musical consuming two batches of popcorn, one that I tried unsuccessfully to season with propel water flavoring. It was worth a shot. What if you could make berry flavored popcorn? I had to try, right? Anyway, the movie finished and I decided my knee was not doing well. In fact, it was very yellow now and continued to produce yellow fluid. I will spare you the details. I decided to take a shower and scrub it is clean. That was probably the best thing I had done up to that point in wound management. The polysporin was good, but quite useless in the face of the crazy bacteria and pathogens you find in Africa. I read for a long time on Sunday night and got up dreading what I would find in regards to my knee on Monday morning.

Monday I would have probably laid in bed feeling sorry for myself all morning, but I had a meeting with Pam so I pulled myself together, bandaged up my knee and went to work. The meeting with Pam was great. I found some information that I think will be very helpful for her. It was fun to be the go to water person :) Something I would like to continue to gain a reputation for… I went home for lunch around 1:00, but before that I did some online research and figured out the yellow slough on my wound was not good. When I went home I carefully and mercilessly scrubbed it off. The pain was bearable only because I imagined it was helping to make this horrible mistake go away.

I ate my lunch, read and then slept until 4:45. I’m not kidding. I don’t know what was wrong with me besides the fact I had a profusely running wound on my knee and was about as low spirited as they get. I didn’t want to see anybody or talk to anybody. Whenever I did see someone they would ask me why I was limping and I didn’t want to have to explain to them the problem. In addition, my relationship with the French language has moved from a love-hate to a dislike-hate relationship. The only reason why I got up at 4:45 was because my house guy came in to clean. GRrrr… It was fine though, I went to the nurses station to have her help me out. She looked at it, rubbed some Betadine on it, not very gently at that. I believe as I was walking out I was comparing her to the spawn of satan… I may be being a little dramatic here, but fine.

Monday night I did bring myself to work on my experiment report paper a bit, but then succumbed to continuing my wallowing by watching more Hannah Montana. The marathon was only interrupted by Susan coming over to partake of the left over ice cream I had been saving for a night she was free. After the ice cream I pulled myself away from the TV and made myself do something constructive. I decided to draw something. But what? Oh that infamous question which stumps even the best of the best artists. I let my mind wander and settled on drawing the candle and candlestick holder which I displayed on my table. It was a good choice. I also read for a long time. I am proud of those few good things which came out of Monday. In fact, in retrospect it was quite a good day. All I can remember though is my infernal injury and the anguish it was causing me. FYI I depend on my bike and my ability to walk for everything. I have no car and therefore if I can’t easily walk then riding my bike is out of the question and I am stranded, not to mention I have a long list of errands I need to run including food shopping, buying my ticket to Ghana, getting visa pictures, getting my visa, I also had to miss two tennis lessons and haven’t really worked out since Friday. Are you tracking with me?

Tuesday, again I had a meeting scheduled in the morning. This is really the trick for me. I have to something to get up for. Living alone doesn’t help the whole up and at ‘em in the morning thing. Then again, living with a random housemate doesn’t seem to help either. I miss Cassy and Ruby and colonial breakfast! I was supposed to go with Nicolas to the ceramic workshop at 10:00. We wanted to start a dialogue about manufacturing the filters in Ouagadougou. However, I got a call from Nicolas saying the guy wasn’t available and that they needed to change the visit time to 3:00. I didn’t see this as a problem. I had my French lesson scheduled for 5:00 but two hours should have been plenty of time. Should have been is the operative phrase here. Anyway, that left my morning totally free. But honestly, I was pretty worthless. My knee looked about the same as it had on Sunday which in my book was not a good sign. But the nurse seemed to think it was fine. I emailed the missionary doctor I knew here and was hoping to get a response and go see him before going to the ceramics workshop. That didn’t happen. Instead I ended up reading all morning. Not all was lost. I was reading the development book which I still consider researching my topic.

When 3:00 finally rolled around I went out and waited for Nicolas to come pick me up in one of his NGO vehicles. Nice. The ceramics workshop we visited was great. I mean really great. They are perfect for the filter project. They have the space, the equipment, and most importantly knowledge of clays and a knack for business. I was super pumped. The only problem was my knee was still hurting and as the clock turned to 5:15 I knew I had missed my French teacher, or more accurately he had come and waited and I didn’t show up. I even left my phone in the car by accident so I couldn’t send him a message. I felt really bad, but he always understands.

I got back to my office in a bit of a tizzy not knowing what to do. I was mad at myself for not going to the doctor sooner and finally tracked down his number, but it is so expensive to call people on my phone. I decided to go see the nurse one more time. She wasn’t there… perfect. So I bit the bullet and called the doctor. His daughter is in my bible study and I know the family from various connections. He told me to come over to his house and he will have a look at it for me. Great! Except I am worried that walking and riding my bike will make it worse and as I mentioned before I have no car, so I ask you, how would you proceed to get to the doctor’s house which is at least a mile away if not more? As I was about to start crying at my dismal situation, I ran into my boss at which point I proceeded to explain without hesitation that I had hurt my knee and needed to go to the doctor’s house but had no way to get there. My boss had his driver take me. Hallelujah!

The doctor took one look and told me it was infected and I needed antibiotics. He wrote a prescription and told me to clean it twice a day with Betadine. Well, I called Leanna who agreed to pick me up and drive me home. The 2iE driver could only bring me there… In the mean time I walked 200m from the doctor’s house to his clinic where I bought the antibiotics. I hadn’t had time though to run back to my house before leaving my office so I didn’t have enough money to pay my consultation bill which was 10000CFA ($25) and they don’t take insurance… What is the point of insurance if it doesn’t pay for your medical bills?! I am going to have to learn more about this twisted world of health care and taxes if I don’t want to be taken for a ride at each turn in the road.

Anyway, I did thankfully have enough money with me to buy the medication so I could start it that night. The doctor did give me permission to walk normally and ride my bike if I could. It wasn’t going to make it worse, which is what I needed to know. I considered walking home but a dust storm picked up and I decided instead to wait for Leanna as planned. I really appreciated her coming to get me. There were about a million and one things she needed to do and driving me around was not on that list. But she was so nice about it. She drove me home and I went in to my office and chatted with my Mom. Going to the doctor was the best choice I could have made. I’m just mad it took me so long to get to that point. Africa makes you do funny things. I didn’t talk with my Mom very long and instead went home did some Abs of Steel toning, made crepes for dinner and watched Grey’s Anatomy. I took the first antibiotics pill with dinner and wouldn’t you know within an hour the yellow was disappearing and it skin was closing up. Talk about a turn around! Anyway, the rest of the night I read my book the Life of Pi. I actually finished it ;) It was really good. I highly highly recommend it and would love to discuss with someone who has read it! I fell happily asleep confident I had the worst of my knee problems behind me. As a note, I would like to add that left over beef stroganoff makes an excellent filling for crepes. Seriously.

Today, Wednesday, I got up and made oatmeal for breakfast. I must be the world’s worst oatmeal maker because every time I make it turns out slimy yet crunchy on the inside. Not super appealing in the morning to say the least. I stopped by the nurse on the way to office since I hadn’t bought Betadine yet and she had some. The big gash closed up overnight. Yay! I spent the morning reading a new paper on the ceramic filters published by a professor at UVA as well as getting the food distribution pictures online. I decided to shelve the experiment write up until I felt divinely inspired. If I try and do something like that and don’t feel like it, I end up wasting my time. So I am being patient with myself. I think after the knee heals and my Ghana plans are taken care of I will be able to focus. I had a late lunch and planned for bible study. I bandaged my knee and mounted my bike. My knee is doing better, but it is not great. In an ideal world I probably should not ride my bike yet. However, I had no other option so I did it. With each pedaling motion I could imagine the cut on my knee reopening. Gross, I know. I stopped to get my visa picture taken, but it was going to be complicated so I peaced out. I also made a minor detour to buy some juice to go with Angela’s banana bread we had for our snack. This week’s bible study topic was Thanksgiving Psalms, specifically Psalm 118. Read it. You’ll like it. You’ll also recognize several of the verses from popular worship songs. After study I stopped by the bank to check my balance. It was much less than I thought it should be so I have to check with what is going on with my paychecks… Then I went to the pharmacy to get my Betadine and rode my bike through the university campus until I found the guys with the blue fabric hanging from a wooden frame who take the ID photos. It is an admittedly shady system. I paid this guy 1500CFA he took my picture, and I am supposed to come back to the same corner tomorrow morning to get my pictures. I am sure he will be there as I have used this system before, but it still just cracks me up!

I got back in time for my French lesson. Phew, if I blew him off two days in a row that would have been terrible. My knee had suffered from all my bike riding so I was a bit preoccupied but I did my best and was glad to have had the lesson. And I was able to distract him with enough random conversation that we didn’t get to the part of the lesson where he reads a paragraph and I have to write what he says. After French I was going to walk to the American Language Center (ALC) to watch Susan’s students have a mock presidential debate, but time was short so I rode my bike instead. It wasn’t the best thing I could have done, but I survived. I should interject that the tailor who makes clothes for Susan and I has a terrible habit of showing up at the most inconvenient time, namely as I walking out the door on my somewhere and leaving late… So it was classic that he came as I was leaving for the ALC. I took the bag of clothes from him and excused myself as politely as possible. Anyway, I made it to the debate on time which was important to me. I want to be a punctual person. The debate was interesting. The participants are non-native English speakers so they struggled a bit, but it was a great experience for them to have. A bunch of Toastmaster Members showed up which was very encouraging. Susan and I walked back which was much appreciated. I made myself a hodge-podge dinner, watched some Hannah Montana and then brought myself to write this post. It has been a long night, and this is certainly a long post. Thanks for sticking with me. I knew it would be hard to readjust to life after my visit to the states, and boy was I right… I want enjoy my last month in Africa and I am sure I will, I have just hit a bump in the road which my drama queen nature has turned into a total road closure. I’ll see about opening things back up tomorrow. Until then, I bid you Adieu!