It was a Friday and my supply of edible things was getting uncomfortably low--time to make a run to the Market. Armed with my trusty backpack, I set off on my short hike of about a mile. First I head down an alley past Samedi's house and take a path angling to the left. At the big mango tree I turn right and head for the big soccer field. I step aside briefly to let an ox cart pass by. People, old and young, greet me along the way. Some nod a short "salute," while some kiddies run out screaming, "LAPIA!" with both little hands raised. I return the greeting and savor the feeling of community. Once across the soccer field, I pass the government school and --"viola!" -- there is the market. I stop by Abdullaie's. He is a Muslim shop-keeper who always has good change. I only need some cubes of seasoned salt, but I must first sit on his bench and visit. I enjoy it. He gives me some cold water from his ice-chest and 30 minutes later I'm on my way with my seasoned salt. My next stop is the fresh food section of the market where I buy onions, a cucumber and some peanut oil. In a moment of bravery, I buy a local green called "low-zeh"--my Anglicized version of the name. Tammy Parker had once described how to prepare it and I want to give it a try.
Back home I pull all the round leafs off the stalk and wash them. Thankfully Tammy happens by and walks me through the process. Fifteen min later I have some delicious “low-zeh” sauce to put on rice. I am so proud of it! As I sit enjoying my creation, I plan how I might make it in America.
Midnight and Sheba whine at the door and give me a pitiful look. Midnight and Sheba are the two dogs that belong to the Netteburgs. With the Netteburgs back in the States, the dogs have become my personal charges. "Ok girls, let's go," I say as I reach for their leashes. This announcement causes a small earthquake of excitement as the dogs jump and yip with pent-up glee. It is evening and the heat of the day is giving way to pleasant coolness. As soon as the dogs pull me through the compound gate, I stop in awe. The sky is covered by a bank of dark clouds. The evening sun, though hidden, is scattering golden sun-rays all along the African savannah. As we enter the vast, empty field behind the hospital, the panoramic sky stretches high over me. I am nearly swept away by the beauty of it all. I soak it in with a grateful heart.
It’s early morning. I'm about to take a shower, when my foot touches a rather odd something. Glancing down, I can't tell exactly what it is, so I get some toilet paper to pick it up. My still-sleep-fogged eyes finally focus on the glassy stare of a lizard’s head. If you know me well, you know the great shock this “dead reptile encounter” was to my system. After a big *GASP,* I threw the unfortunate critter’s offending part into the nearest trash bin, all the while breathing threatenings about throwing the cats out of the house. Upon closer inspection I find the lizard's tail and dispose of it in like manner. The offending cats have also been known to leave bat wings and skulls in the bathroom. Now a poor lizard’s head and tail. I’ll be sure and check the floor next time.