October 18, 2009

14 Guinea Stories Plus Petite

1] I'm going to the Imam's house for lunch. I cut through a neighbor's compound, jump a creek and bushwack my way back to the path. I surprise a pack of monkeys who scramble back into the bush.

2] Phil had a bot fly larve living under his skin and Kevin was bitten by a spider while he was sleeping. Both injuries resemble the entry wound of a 9mm bullet except they also ooze pus.

3] I watch a bush taxi carreen around the bend. There is a driver, two people in the passanger seat, four in the middle, three in the back, a bunch of baggage on top, another person on the roof, and a live goat sitting placidly.

4] I'm still getting my squat toilet technique down. I imagine it's approximately as operating a diver bomber during World War II. Sometimes you're not terribly accurate and your bathroom stinks for a couple of days.

5] The village doctor (hell of a guy by the way) has a fat little third grade son. He tells me to give him my bike ("Yagouba, donne moi ton velo") and I tell him to give me his dad's TV. I tell him to give me his shirt and he demands my sandals. It's a nice little game we play and it goes on for hours.
6] I have tan lines from my thong sandals. Really bad ones. I know there's a joke in there somewhere about me, tan lines, and thongs but I can't tease it out right now.

7] We're getting evacuated to Bamako tomorrow. We were told to pack one bag of "only essentials." Did I pack my Cole Haans? Yes. Yes I did.

8] I've got a brick of Guinean Francs in my bag. One point three million Guinean Francs actually. Official exchange rate is $1 to 5,000 GNF. You can do the math. Be sure to include the annual 15% inflation.

9] Carrying around bricks of rubber banded currency makes me feel like a drug runner.

10] Mr. Dioulde Barry (fluent in three languages, Oxford educated, director of the Peace Corps Education Program) and I are climbing a mountain to test out my cell phone coverage in village. He's dressed impeccably and wearing fine Italian loafers. He's in front. He looks over his shoulder and says, "Jake, when you write your memoirs" he gasps for air "make you sure you include this." He gasps for air again and thinks then adds, "But run it by me first."

11] Still haven't read any French poetry. Sorry Bruss. I'm looking.

12] "I'm not wearing this funny hat. It makes me look ridiculous." I said that while wearing a full on formal traditional Guinean boubou. I know there's pictures floating around somewhere. There's a video too.

13] I don't want to leave. I love it here. It better work out. I hope it works out my way.

14] Poop.

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