Saturday, January 19, 2008

Two Losses, Two Gains: Karma

I haven’t really wanted to write about this because most of us, still don’t really know what’s going to happen but I figure you’ve all probably read about it on someone else’s blog by now. My postmate, Mohamed, has been administratively separated from Peace Corps (Loss number one). He was sep’ed for having a moto, which as we all know is a big ‘no-no’. Now whether or not this can be counted as a big loss or not is still up in the air. As far as I know, Mohamed has no intention of leaving Copargo until his projects are finished. Unfortunately he is on vacation and so no one knows what his plans are, including me. He might be coming back he might not, who knows. I hope that he will come back for awhile, but I can’t really say what’s up. The good news on this score is that I’ll probably get a new post-mate next summer, Copargo has requested a health volunteer (this is not one of the gains as its not current).
My second loss is more upsetting, my cat Acoté is gone. Disappeared. I put him out as usual, the night before New Year’s eve, and he just never came home. At first I wasn’t worried because he’s a tough kitty but after a few days I started asking if anyone had seen him. No. People in Benin eat cats, children steal cats, I live next to the Gudron (highway), taxis don’t generally care what they hit. My thought here is that Acoté it beyond being able to come home at this point, whether he became dinner, a pancake, or someone else’s pet, I don’t really want to know. But after 2 weeks I’m willing to say that my cat is most likely not coming home. The neighbors have offered to help me find a new cat, and soon I’ll have to take them up on that, the mice that live in my ceiling have started coming down into the house. I assume because there isn’t cat presence around to scare them off anymore.
The two gains came together, as a kind of set. I was at the post-office in Djougou, to pick up a package that couldn’t be brought to Copargo, when I was first sort of told off by Estelle. Estelle is an old friend of Robyn’s (The volunteer I am replacing).
“Do you know who I am?”
“You’re Estelle.”
“You said you would come Saluer.”
“I’m sorry I was sick, and then on Vacation.”
“Oh, well you have to come to the health center to saluer.”
“I will.”
This was Wed. January 2nd. On Sunday I decided to go into town to get salad for dinner and took terra rouge home instead of Gudron. On the way I was flagged down. By Estelle (I will say, she is persistent.)
“I live here.”
“Oh, this is really close to my house.”
“I know, you didn’t come saluer.”
“The health center is fair away and I have a lot of correcting to get through before tomorrow.”
“Oh… this is Mirelle, (indicating another woman) she works at the health center too.”
“Hello Mirelle.”
“Did you buy food?” – Mirelle
“Yes Salad” –me
“You bought food? Nonono garble garble Robyn never, garble!” –Estelle (I still have trouble when people talk fast)
“Its just salad!” –me
“We’ll come by tonight at 8.” –Estelle (o.O what? Weren’t we just talking about salad?)
“umm, ok?” –me
And so they did, and took me to a buvette, for a soda (beers for them) and invited me to a fete the following Saturday. They also roped me into allowing them to tress my hair for the fete on Wednesday. So while they were tressing my hair Wednesday they invited me to come over for lunch on Thursday. On Thursday they cunningly got me to paint my nails. And of course there was the fete on Saturday. It was a decent party lots of speeches which I didn’t listen too, the real high point was that Lindsey, the Health Volunteer in Anandana (about 25 k from Copargo) was attending so I had someone to talk to, which was great.
So my two gains here are Estelle and Mirelle who seem to be intent and determined to be friends with me.


loehrke said...

I am very sad about your kitty. From reading other blogs it seems tough to keep pets there. I think you should think abut a new kitty though. Kitties make nicer pets than mice.
I'm glad that you have new friends there. It seems like emotional hardships there are just as or even more difficult than the physical ones and more friends means more happiness.
Thanks for writing!!!
All the best, Mark Loehrke (Carly's dad)

Judith A. Johnson said...

My sympathies for the loss of your kitty as well. LIfe does seem very hard for animals there, I know he had a wonderful life with you while it lasted.
So, did Mohammed buy a moto and then get fired from PC? It seems dumb to do something so obviously forbidden, it's confusing to me.
I love postings that detail everyday life for PCVs. Keep them coming.