Monday, March 14, 2011


I like smiling. Laughing is even better. For a time, life in Tchad felt too serious and severe for smiles or laughs. Not now. They fill my days. Here are some things that make me smile.

5:30 am. The roosters have been going off since 4 am, but causing no great disturbance. Then the silence shatters like breaking glass. Good Morning my friends! There are two donkeys who live over the fence from me. On a random whim I christened them Bert and Ernie. They always greet the day with gusto. Just recently I noticed a third little one whom Brichelle has dubbed Elmo.

A little girl wanders into our courtyard. Her eyes are locked on me. Solemnly she offers her hand in polite greeting. When I look away I feel something on my arm. She is stroking me. She toddles around me. Starring intently at my arm she goes to stroke it with her feather light touch. She's so intense. I crack up.

We're at the river splashing and dunking. I get out to warm up on the sand and my friend Papa joins me. He starts copying everything I do and say so I decide to have some fun. I point at him, he points at me. I strike a "thinker" pose and he does the same. I look at him sideways and he looks at me sideways. We both bust out laughing. Finally I end the game by running full speed into the river. We both do belly flops.

I try to say "really?" in French and end up saying "how much?" That sort of thing happens a lot. Oh boy.

Sometimes in my hut at night when I'm dripping sweat, I like to imagine that its frigid outside and someone has just turned up the thermometer really high. Somehow it makes it feel better.

Moo-deng sneaks up behind me while I do dishes at Parkers and either yells or pours cold water down my back. When I come after him he will smile sweetly and say with his funny accent "Heather, my sister. I am your brother".

There is so much to smile about!

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