The trials and tribulations of my solitary Monday to Friday existence tend to be exacerbated by a shortage of people with whom I can verbally spar and so it is here that my linguistic spleen must be vented if only to ensure that the other volunteers who have the 'pleasure' of my company at the weekend don't get inundated with what is known in the business as 'pent up chat'. The peculiar word based sense of humour tinted spectacles through which I view life and the world doesn't take too readily to translation and so it is that my life is one observed with looks of perpetual befuddlement on the part of my colleagues, neighbours and friends. Does it bother me that they don't quite get it. Not really; I'm only doing it for me.
And so another week passes. With the last entry's wholly uncharacteristic conciseness, I revert once more to the stream of cranial effluence in which my train of thought has been replaced by the Heart of Gold and its Infinite Improbability Drive. Hang on to your pants people, we could end up anywhere.
Have adopted a peculiar approach to the hoards of crawling, jumping and wriggling multi-limbed lifeforms that seem to hang out chez moi. Two questions go through my head as they sashay through my open door and hurl themselves against my light: Are you dangerous and can I eat you. No idea why, perhaps I'm lacking something in my diet. I'll let you know if and when the time comes for entymological edibility experimentation. I'd ask around for recipes but, alas, insects aren't halal and my village mostly is.
School is as school always has been, and aside from the volume of student that habitually frequents our four meagre classroom spaces, the challenges of the job are few and far between. Curriculum teaching, as I suspected, is not for me. All that jumping through hoops to appease well-meaning ministerial types and to salve their corpulent, corruption-addicted souls with the pretence that they are achieving something has no effect on the level of awareness of the impoverished but, by in large, content members of this central african society. The books with which I am armed and from which I am meant to be teaching are of a level so far above that of their intended audience that I might as well be gargling with jelly and spitting it at the board for the amount they would gain from it.
Having just tested all 521 of them I think my jelly spitting needs some work. For large swathes of Godola and its environs, spring and sawdust appears to be the head filler of choice. Some of them have so little between their ears that you could hold your ear to theirs and probably hear the sea although you'd have to fight through noxious clouds of BO to get close enough. It's probably not worth the effort.
The last two weeks have seen the loss of yet more teaching days with the international day of the teacher absorbing last Friday in a fit of pyjama clad excitement and then yesterday, as you'll doubtless be aware, was the end of Ramadan. Not a good time to be a sheep as you know your days are numbered. Fête de Mouton is 60 days away although if the Fête des Enseignants was celebrated in a similar manner I'd now be curried, which is nice. I'm not, just in case there was any doubt.
So Ramadan is Ramadone and life returns to normal for the legions of Muslims who habitually starve themselves twixt dawn and dusk. Hopefully the students will be a little more receptive now that they're not starving and dehydrated in class. The school director seemed to get a small amount of sadistic pleasure in troughing through plates of beans during the 30 minute breaktime, but I suppose I shouldn't be that surprised given his vociferous and outspoken criticisms of Islam. The tolerance levels here are high which is just as well given the inherent racism and tribalism that exists throughout. Still, either way, donned in Boubou I strolled the streets to shouts of "Al-Hadji!" and "bonne fête!" ... visited those friends who do the Allah thing and helped them celebrate. The place was crazy with legions of Cameroonians and Cameroonlets similarly bouboued and looking quite the part.
And so another week of joy looms. Tonight there's a rugby match happening I believe and in a salute to times past I'm off to buy a cockerell, a trumpet, some red, white and blue material and I'm brushing up on my Marseilles. Afterall, it would be rude not to.