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January 23, 2008

Laundry Day

The sun’s just up, and the goats and sheep are going crazy. Puffs of cloud are catching morning color in the sky above me; yellow, and a luminescent white that fades even as I write. What a wonderful time of day. Now there are people talking, and a radio on, and the sound of Graham fussing in his tent behind me, but when I awoke, just before sunrise, the world was still quiet. How nice.

Dani took our laundry this morning so I changed into clean clothes: Shirt and skirt. Appropriate, since today’s the day Tim’s arranged for us to give an English lesson.

I’m quite sure that for years to come the children of Digdiga are going to be saying, “Nice to meet you, Tim” to whoever they happen to meet.

After Tim had taught polite (very English) conversation, I taught the numbers. I wrote my name and the word numbers awkwardly on the board and held up a finger, saying “What’s this?” since some of the kids already knew some English. “Finger,” the only girl in the class said. I should have known better. Poor girl—the laugh should have been on me really, but I’m sure our chuckles embarrassed her.

While we taught the English versions, I asked the kids to teach us the Afari versions, so Tim and Talfan and David and I repeated and immediately forgot the Afari numbers while the kids said the numbers in English like champs.

When I went to take the class picture at the end, I started on the typical ‘1-2-3-click’ but the kids thought I was continuing the lesson, so when I said “One” they said “One!” and when I said “Two” they said “Two!”—the picture was taken, as you might be able to tell, on “Four!”

[Class photo. A sampling of the kids in town, plus the principal and our friend the teacher, Abdu. There are only three Abdus, by the way—Crazy Abdu, Abdu ‘diplomat’, and Abdu teacher. Nothing like keeping track of the Mohammeds.]

Late in the morning, Abdu ‘diplomat’ had a surprise. He had it behind his back when I wandered over that way, and Tim said he had something to show me. For 10 birr in town, he’d bought and ostrich egg!

Quite impressive, beautifully smooth. I felt bad for the ostrich but it was a treat for us. So heavy, seems so strong. Abdu said it was a gift for me, that I should take it back with me, and I said it’d never get through but Tim had the idea of draining it—clever, and I guess obvious—so the egg was drained from a small hole in the shell and we had scrambled ostrich egg for dinner. I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t see how much oil went into cooking it…

[Our 'kitchen'--the same schoolroom our water is stored in.]

Unfortunately, Eyaya didn’t remind me until it was too late that, being Friday, it was a fasting day, so none of the Christians would try the egg. We also bought a goat too late—why did Meron even approach us about buying a goat today? So instead of slaughtering and cooking the goat this afternoon, since half the camp wouldn’t eat it, we tied it to a storage tent to wait for tomorrow. Poor goat. It seems very uncomfortable. I’m trying not to establish a relationship with it. No eye contact when I pass it on the way to the bathroom.

[And this will be the goat's fate. Don't know quite why they hang the skins on the school's barbed wire, but there were three or four of them there already when we arrived.]

I love Dani. I got a clean bra, shirt, pants, and head scarf.

[Dani’s the best.]

And, I’m dusty already.

[One day of dust. It *was* a clean shirt. And that's just an around-camp day.]

I spent some time this evening after dinner sitting in a plastic chair by my tent. I watched the moon rise. The sky above the hill got lighter, lighter, lighter with its nearing—it was almost killing me. The moon rose red. It’s now bright, shining white.

Sophie and Shimeles (MT group) arrived with another police guard and another driver today. Since the petrology group is out on their trek, that puts us at I think 21 in camp.

I charged up my iPod some on the generator tonight and I’m listening to Crowded House.

Posted by beth at January 23, 2008 9:53 PM

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