Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Weekend Before Christmas

I tried my best to amuse myself today, but nothing I tried was working. I went to go visit the government national park services office, but they were shut. One big grocery store was shut and the other didn’t have change, so I couldn’t get small bills and go back to Virunga outdoor market to buy those used hot-pink jeans that I didn’t buy last time but that I’ve been dreaming about ever since. The art shop in the Heal Africa hospital was open, but the compound gate was locked and no one was around to let my driver and me in. So I ended up back at the house, asking the top-boss here if I could take the car out to the airport and sit and watch the planes take off and land. That was a no-go. There is apparently only one car this weekend, and other people may need to use it and I couldn’t take it so far away unless it was a real, true, total necessity.

So instead, D, our top-boss who I rather adore, let me tag along with her to the house of two of her friends, who have a phenomenal garden full of huge pink flowers and small orchids leading down to a small unpolluted swimming spot. And I swam. And I jumped in off the lava rock. And I gained more confidence and I dove. And the waves were big, not too big, but big enough. I was wonderful. I’ve worn shoes every time I’ve swum as a talisman against the snail disease – I don’t really believe it helps, but someone kindly gave me tons of tips as to how to know if is safe to swim, and the “wear shoes” tip was an afterthought but a concrete action, so I clung onto it. I didn’t wear shoes this time. So many Africans were swimming just across the water. And the snail disease is totally treatable as long as you get tested for it. Swimming was SO FUN. Right now at 6 pm I am jealous of my 2 pm self and wish I were back, balancing my toes on the edge of the lava, lifting my arms, and leaping.


Yesterday was Saturday, so I went back to the little center to teach a lesson. Because they asked for it last time, this time I told the kids the story of Obama. It was pseudo-successful. The kids are at such different levels of English, of age, of confidence, and there are over thirty of them at any one time. It makes for a difficult class. But they are lovely kids, so eager, and I will keep going back for as long as I am helpful. I like knowing that, in my eyes, they will slowly turn from being a faceless mass of kids to a group of individuals in their own rights – some who are friends and some who are needy, like in all classrooms.


Right now it’s turning dark and mosquitoes are buzzing. There are hawks circling one of our avocado trees and a small white pill bottle shining in the moonlight, bouncing on the waves of the lake. The hotel next to us dumps all of their trash into the lake and it gets caught in the little alcove where our house rests. I hate that hotel. (Hotel Linda – NEVER STAY THERE.) I wish there were someone I could call, something I could do to stop them dumping all their trash into our lake (why on Earth don’t they just burn it?!?) but I have no idea who/what. Apparently they have been ordered by the Government to stop a bunch of times, so they’ve bribed the officials and, wipe your hands, the story’s finished!

(Yesterday, as I was being driven to the center, we passed a policeman waving down a truck. The truck didn’t even stop, just braked slightly, and passed 500 Francs out the window to the copper. The copper grinned him on. Wipe your hands, the story’s done. That’s how it goes, here.)

I think there is even toilet waste coming from Hotel Linda. There is brown sludge in our lake. Irresponsible, horrible, wealthy jerks.


Overhead there is earthshine on the moon.