Sunday, September 30, 2007

We're not in September anymore, Toto ...

It's Sunday. It's the 30th. September's swansong and October is stretching it's well-rested limbs for its annual 31 day foray into the collective conscience. Ahead lies a week of wrongly dated letters and back in the homeland thoughts turn to the pagan and quasi-pagan festivites that litter the winter months. The nights are drawing in, the clocks preparing in their own inimitable, unconscious manner for their slip into the embracing comfort of GMT, and the natural world is downsizing its activities for the winter.

Here, it's hotter than Lucifer's hot bits, thought not as hot as it was in March, and the rainy season has done its bit, any further seasoning is according to personal taste; where's a man with a 4 foot long pepper grinder when you need one?

It's been a couple of crazy weeks in one way or another. The highs have outweighed the lows and life goes on in the way in which I have, in the last 5 weeks, become accustomed. The teaching is as manic as can be expected and life 'au village' goes on in its own particular/peculiar manner, helped on its way by the insane ramblings and surprisingly profound ignorance of my neighbours. This week a lesson in the diurnal rotations of the earth, its most prominent satellite and the direction of the points of the compass. How simple life must be if you don't know what the moon looks like, or in which direction the sun sets. Pity her poor child who is currently being home tutored ... not by her university qualified science teaching husband but by the good lady herself.

Last weekend saw a peculiar mix of general contentedness combined with rage, anger and irritation. Some light-fingered son of a lady dog tried and succeeded in liberating me of 700 Francs. There I was hailing a moto-taxi when he sidled up beside me, stuck his hand in my pocket and helped himself. I grabbed his wrist which he tried to pull free, eventually succeeding with the small amount of change I had in that pocket, and for his troubles got a right hook to the side of the head from my motorcycle helmet wielding right hand. It may have only been 70p but that's not really the point.

That was the solitary low but it was low enough to make me walk around for the rest of the weekend like a bear with a sore head, and pretty much everyone of Cameroonian extraction, no matter how well-meaning their intentions, got what could be described as the choke barrell with a smattering of short-thrift. Even this weekend I've been a little on edge but there we go ... it'll pass although I can't help hope that my light-fingered assailant is still aching.

This week sees another day lost with International Day of the Teacher taking over Friday ... a walk down the dusty streets of Meri with the region's bastions of teaching excellence will be a novelty if only for being dressed from head to foot in material that I'd have to consider seriously before using as a floor cloth. Baby Blue or Baby Pink were the approved choices. Basically a pair of wear once glorified pyjamas; life doesn't get any more rock and roll.

The only other excitement has been the arrival of the new volunteers: 13 of them of which about half have been struck down by something. In the last 2 weeks there have been cases of Typhoid, E. Coli, Intestinal parasites and Malaria. Culture shock for every element of the human condition it would seem. As I've said before, fun comes in all shapes and sizes.

Onwards and upwards. It's now nearly 3 and I must rentrer before the taxi's start taking liberties.

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