Today’s weather is NICE. Very fine. So typically the generator is turned off about 8 am. And then my fan dies and I get so hot I have to get out of bed because it’s just miserable. But today, when the generator died, I was still under the sheet and I felt SO pleasantly happy and content and wanted to lay in bed and enjoy this unusually cool temp. I checked my thermometer and it said 78 F (26 C or so). So nice! Best temp since I’ve been here! Lovely.
I went to breakfast and made my daily “Cafe Lauricano”, 2 Nescafe packets and 1 Tablespoon Nido dry milk protein with hot water. I drink the hot drink regardless of the air temp because it is like my security blanket. My stable rock that I can turn to in this strange and unpredictable world. (A few times I couldn’t have Nescafe or Nido and I still got by, no tears or outbursts.) Breakfast was some fried cassava and fried plantains, paired with boiled cassava and plantains with a hot stew of peppers, tomatoes and spam. Kebbeh came in and was making some tea and said she needed tea because she was cold. I said I LOVED the temp!
Kebbeh and I discussed yesterday that today she would teach me how to do my laundry. Kebbeh is 18 and in highschool. Today she didn’t have school (seems like they’re having final exams). Kebbeh is a great servant, and I don’t mean that in a demeaning way, but in way like she is happy and glad to work for people. She loves helping people. Up until this point she has done all my laundry, (about 4 small loads) and I never even watched her. Just “Here’s my dirty stuff” and later she is like “Here’s your clean stuff”. I want to learn how to do my own laundry by hand in Africa because
a) I’m going to have to do a lot of my own laundry at the other places I volunteer b) If I want to live long term in Africa I need to know how to do it and c) I hardly even know how to do it by hand in the US (like how I had two “hand wash only” shirts on my closet floor for over a year because of that fear and when I took them dirty to my mom’s and then just put them in the washer on the “hand wash” cycle.)
So we put a bunch of water in a big tub. We had bar soaps (not like Dove or Ivory, but I’m not 100% sure it was totally for clothes, but it seemed to work well) and we rubbed the clothes with them and rubbed the clothes against themselves. Kebbeh separated the whites out and put them in a bucket with some chlorine (bleach). With the whites then she used some stuff called “Blue” and said it would really make the whites “shine”. My whites sure shined alright! When they were done and hanging on the line someone else’s “white” rag was hanging there all dull and brown and I thought “that sorry sap should have used chlorine and blue!”
Before I came to Africa I read a story about a boy who was trying to clean a sock for like 25 min. The kid needed chlorine and blue! And Kebbeh!
I’m quite confident in my hand washing abilities now. Thanks Kebbeh!
Also today I taught Kebbeh and two children how to play Slap Jack with the cards. The call it “Knocking the J”. Definitely reminded me of playing with my brother back in the day. It was fun.
I joined the girls and some of the children (I’m avoiding saying kids because Liberians don’t know what kids means, just children) at the neighbor’s, Nora’s. I found them watching a cartoon called Krishna that seemed pretty Hindu and I found that interesting since I’ve never seen that or even thought about that. Later somehow, it was asked how old I am. I said “33” and God bless Kebbeh, she said “33?! Wow! You fine!!!” and threw her hand up for a high five and you bet I smacked that I high five! Kebbeh stared at me like I was an angel and said “Wow. You beautiful!” and even “When you are 60, you will be strong and fine and you will look the same.” Nice!
Later, Kebbeh, me, the neighbor Nora and her son Jamel and Naomi and her daughter Faith went to the roadside bar. Yes, sounds slightly scandalous, but I wanted a beer and they wanted to walk me there (carry me there, they say). I got a large Club Beer (local Liberian beer, 750 mL I think) for 175 LDS. So, that should have been about 2 dollars US. But, he charged me 80 LDS/USD, should have been 88 LDS/USD, but I was like oh well. We sat in the little roadside bar which as simple as it is, I just loved it.
During our sitting time, we were taking pictures and a guy yelled out to me “You ugly-o”. (They add -o at the end to signal emphasis, like an exclamation point.) I was like “What did you say to me?” The girls said he was trying to flirt and that was the best he could think of. I said “That is NOT a good way to get an American girl.”
Later when I was back at the house and I was working on this post, Kebbeh came up to me and wanted to read what I was writing. I let her read this blog out loud to me and it was such a joy for me. There aren’t a lot of books around here so children and students really don’t get much practice in their reading. It’s sad. They also don’t get much experience with computers. I wish I could help more.And as for my feelings lately, I have been very happy. It’s been hard in many ways, but honestly the parts that have been the hardest are the same parts that were the hardest in the states. I have so many little joys, like my yellow room with two windows, our telenovela Broken Angel (Santa Diaba) that we have a bootleg copy of and are totally wrapped up in, my coffee in the am, my lack of makeup and mirrors (who needs makeup when you rarely even see yourself (and the people around you barely know what a white person looks like anyways)) and the gorgeous foliage just to name a few small things.