Friday, February 19, 2010

Warning: Reading this blog may cause digestive upset

So I've had a new adventure recently. Ever heard of mango worms? My personal collection is pictured above. They hatch when flies lay eggs on your clothes as they are hanging on the line to dry. The catch is WHERE do they hatch? Under you skin! Little bumps form that itch like crazy. Every once in a while you suddenly get zapped with a stinging sensation...that's the worms moving inside you! When the bumps get bigger and harder and you can't stand it another second, you put some oil on to suffocate the guy and then squeeze them and voila, out pops a wiggly worm! The first time I witnessed this was my first year in Congo when I was staying up north in Ouesso. My colleague thought he had a boil but treated it to no avail until one day a Congolese came by and was like, "Hey! Just squeeze it!" and out popped a very ripe worm wiggling and writhing. I thought, "That's it. There's just no where to go from here."

This past week I survived a nasty batch of mango worms myself. Mine even had the special effect of getting infected and causing a fever which kept me home for an entire day. I'm back in good health now with just a few battle scars.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Cute couples

Here are some cute pictures from a wedding last week. The groom works for the CMA missionaries. I helped the bride with her train (the picture here is the traditional wedding...she wore a white dress at the church wedding) and helped them collect the gifts. The other couple is my friends kevin and Dior who were married in August, where I was also the bride's right hand woman. They say that when the young people in their church see them together, they want to get married too!

And last but not least, me and Espérance looking snazzy and chic!

Monday, February 01, 2010

My walk home

So I continue to be extremely blog-negligent, but then sometimes I realize that I can just write about stuff that's normal and everyday to me and it will still be interesting and foreign to most of my audience. Case in point: my walk home from work. This past month we've been taking care of a friend's apartment which is only a 15 minute walk from my office. Last night I walked home after our Sunday evening service and decided to make note of what I saw along the way.

The first thing I do is walk out the gate and say goodnight to the guard. I turn left up the hill towards the cathedral. At the top of the hill I turn right past a little boutique which is basically a big red box with bars over the window at the counter where you place your order for pop or a sandwich or various pantry goods like canned peas and sardines. There are men or students eating a snack and having a drink outside. I go by quickly and hope no one greets me. A cute brown dog with a nasty open wound on his ear (which almost all dogs have here) sleeps on the ground.

I walk along the street which is at the crest of a hill and enjoy a nice view of the city lights at night. A crazy man sits on the ground along a wall and I walk in the middle of the road where there’s more light and no garbage or sand. I turn left at the end of the block and usually find students studying under the big street lamps outside the mobile phone company compound and Cameroonian embassy. As I was pondering this practice last night, to my surprise, one of the young men called out “Bonsoir, Mama Jessica!” I vaguely recognized the teen boy (he was at my wedding for all I know!). “Do you study here because there is no light at home?” I asked. “No,” he said, “for the distraction.” “Ah, you like to be outside when you study? I’m like that too.” I went on my way, happy to have resolved that question for myself since for years I have been observing people reading under street lamps in this way.

The neighborhood I walk through consists mostly of large houses and embassies. Some are actually rather attractive buildings and when I’m with EspĂ©rance he usually starts talking about what he’ll do one day when he is rich. There are civilian guards sitting outside many of the houses, which makes me feel safer walking that way after dark. We greet each other curtly and I try to avoid conversation.

When I get up to the main road which leads to the apartment building we’re living in, I turn left which takes me up a hill and down the other side. This goes past what used to be the Meridian Hotel, supposedly the nicest in town but really a big rip off. It’s being renovated now by some Arab company. There’s a small boutique which usually has a few customers. One night as I passed by there, a prostitute asked me to buy her a Coke and I obliged, giving her $1, and hoping I could see her again sometime and talk to her. She was a little scary looking with a hairy chest and matted long wig. Anyways…

Just before I get to our building, I pass along a nice wall lined with beautiful plants. There are even lights in the flowerbed and it all is quite lovely. The mystery is that on the other side is an unfinished house, or rather, more likely, a house which once was but is now torn down and pitted out. It looks like it was going to be a very nice building. I wish these people who aren’t doing anything with their charming property would let us move in and finish it for them!

When I get home I still have to climb up to the 4th floor, which is quite the challenge sometimes on a long hot day!