Sunday, October 28, 2007 thank you!

I am preparing to travel to the "land of milk and honey" (aka The United States) and in Burkina nothing is, before I go and bathe myself in chocolate, sushi, Jamba Juice, Starbucks, pizza, and anyother food related delicacy, I will share my last crazy moment...something I am certain does not happen often, if at all, in the States.

I am walking from Marina Market (our "grocery store"). I am accustomed to being hassled by the random "faux types" that hang out there, and the homeless man that follow this was no different. This guy follows beside me for about a 20 minute walk. He is babbling in French something about how Americans are Africans, we are all the same mom is his mom, and his dad is my dad...and that if I just gave him some money he could buy something to do something (he was not talking coherently...and my French isn't that good). I get to a street corner and he is still babbling and following, and I am trying to just ignore him and hail a cab. Of course, the one time I need one no one comes! So I walk to a further street corner to see if I will have better luck. I am standing there, and at this point I don't hear him so I am hoping he just slunk away. Suddenly, a pigeon flies (or drops) down dead about 2 feet from me. It twitches a couple times...then goes limp. I turn around to see my trusty friend--slingshot in hand--trotting over to claim his newly acquired prize...yummy. Now, I can handle a lot, but this just about crossed my gross out threshhold. He picks up the pigeon, whose poor head is bobbing around like a bobble-head doll, and he proceeds to attempt to stuff it in my bag. OH YES! I kid you not! My hands aren't free because they are full of bags so I try to run away. I keep refusing his "generous cadeau" as he calls it. At this point I am scared he is going to throw it at me. All of the Burkinabè look on in amusement...huh, I am glad someone is enjoying this. Then he walks away...YES, I'm free...wait, NO I'm not. He finds a clear plastic sachet and stuffs the dead bird into it...oh my gosh, is he really going to try and give it to me again or throw it at me? I freak out and start power walking across the busy street. It is like a scene from "Dodgeball"...except luckily I didn't get hit. A cab finally turns and stops right as the man is approaching me. He is holding out the bag yelling--"Mon cherie, c'est un cadeau pour vous. Vien prendre et manger! Mon cherie!" AAAAHHHH...I hope in and don't even ask where he is going, and nor do I care...I want outtie from this psycho.

Anyhoo, everyone in the car gets a nice laugh at the crazy man trying to give me that bird...and one man asks me why I didn't take it...he would have eaten it for dinner if I hadn't. Yeah...Only In Burkina (OIB).

Stay safe...and see you in 3 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. Revenge on the Paris Starbuck's will be mine. With a 13-hour layover in Paris I will not be denied my Tall Skim Caramel Macchiatto...VINDICATION! Operation GSCMBSKS (see May 2007 entry) lives again!

Friday, October 19, 2007

A worthy adversary...

It has been over one year in Burkina, and I feel like at this point I can pretty much handle anything. Roaches, scorpions, spiders, gross food, babies peeing on me...but it wasn't until my long "sejour" in Senegal, that my most worthy nemesis became known. Oh yes....with the sudden departure of my cat, and the emptiness of a house..."Jerry" decided to move in...him and his entire family. That's right. For the past month I have been battling with an INSANE mouse infestation. Let's start from the beginning of our "tete-a-tete."

Encounter #1:
It is my first night home...I am attempting to sleep on a moldy bed, on moldy sheets, in a moldy house. Not easy or fun. Suddenly, a small furry creature skirts across the bottom of my bed, across my legs. Fully awake, I look to see 3 mice hiding under my table in my room. Not fun! I text Mike at 2 a.m. and ask him to come and kill them...unfortunately Air France only offers one flight a week to Burkina, and it's full, so he can't come.

Encounter #2:
I am doing massive spring cleaning on my house, and I pull out an old suitcase to pack some books in. Upon opening the suitcase 3 mice JUMP (I didn't even know they could jump that high) out of my suitcase and scatter. My newly attained kitten (aka "mouse killing machine") stares on in disinterest and goes back to sleep. I discover that the mice have eaten and pissed on all of the clothes in the bag, and they are all ruined.

Encounter #3:
I am cleaning dishes when a towel hanging on the wall moves slightly. My first thought is, the cat is chewming my towel. My second thought...wait, the cat is outside. BOOM, a small furry creature leaps from behind the towel onto my chest. I proceed to scream like a little baby, several people come running, and the mouse scurries off. I am laughed at by all the people in my courtyard.

Encounter #4:
It is the end of Ramadan and I am cooking up a feast of chicken, spaghetti sauce, and spaghetti. All the burners on my stove top are in use. Suddenly, my stove top starts to shake, one of the flames starts going crazy, and I hear a screeching coming from underneath the stove top. I rush, shut the gas off for fear of being blown up, and the sound stops. I thought I had killed something, but upon further exploration I see nothing. The next day I notice a little tail sticking out from under my stove. After further exploration underneath, I see a mouse nicely grilled medium well to the bottom of my stove top. My host mother proceeds to pluck it out with her bare hands, and drag it by its tail until my cat becomes interested and starts to chew it apart. As gross as that is, my first thought is...HAHAHA, and I didn't even have to kill it myself!

Encounter #5:
I am sleeping peacefully thinking that all of the mice have been eradicated from my house. I am awoken by strange sounds from my cat. The cat jumps on my bed and starts chowing down on something I cannot see. I grab my flashlight only to be awoken to the sight of a bloody dead mouse being dragged across my bed. The cat has decided that my bed is the dinner table...ummm...NO! Should I have been grossed out by this...yes...was I was more annoyed than anything else, and proud that he had actually gotten one on his own. I took him and his prize outside to finish the meal, and then covered the blood with a sleeping bag....I slept like a baby that night. And don't worry....I cleaned the sheets the next morning.

2 down! Hopefully no more go! I still hear random skitterings at night, and scary stories from neighbors about how mice like to nibble you at night. I hope that my fierce companion, Shea, is now aware of his role in my house. I really think that from this point forward I will be able to hand most any infestation...I feel much stronger...or maybe just de-sensitized. Either way, I hope you enjoyed that little is to be continued!

For those of you that have been supporting me in the marathon...I have some bad news. A recurring Staph Infection and a pinched nerve have left me virtually bed-ridden these past few weeks, and I have decided that it is best if I postpone my marathon entry until next year. I am VERY disappointed, but I would like to survive the marathon...and at this point that wouldn't be likely. I am like an old woman here...I swear I have cut off at least 10 years of my life span...and that is only in year 1. Anyway, I still look forward to seeing all of you...OCTOBER 31ST BABY! Stay safe!!