Just a slice of life post this evening, to give you a taste of how things work here. I woke up this morning about 7:00. I had breakfast and intended to set out at once to do a variety of errands. But I decided I’d check on things first, since there was a bunch of stuff I had to coordinate with my various co-workers and friends. So I called Bousso, who sent her own maid to clean the house yesterday and was supposed to come yesterday evening with food for me. I didn’t see her last night, though. When I called her I had clearly awoken her, and she said she would be there by noon with the food. Then, I called Djibi, to see if he had gotten ahold of the bike merchant to replace the broken bike seat. He said he’d get with the bike guy and call me right back. Then, I called M. Sawadogo, the university administrator, to see if he had made any progress on a couple of issues he was working on related to my house. At first, no answer from M. Sawadogo, but then he called back and fixed an appointment at 5:00 p.m., when he would bring the boss of the guard service and we could finally resolve the question of what I am supposed to be paying for the guard who sleeps at my house.
So, awaiting Bousso, I decided I could get a bit more of my lectures for US Military Conflict next term at Clackamas Community College up on YouTube. I spent about an hour recording lectures, with only a few interruptions by kids wanting to come into the courtyard. I bought some schoolbooks for Mariette and her big sister, and now Mariette wants to come and sit on the porch and work on her schoolwork. She is a bright girl and I imagine she gets to concentrate more – even though she has her little niece with her – than she would at home where there are no doubt plenty of tasks for a healthy 11 year old girl to do, fetching water and helping with domestic tasks. Anyway, I’m in favor of educating girls. I haven’t seen much of Fanny, the big sister, though I did get a text from her later.
After recording, which took until about 9:30, I started the Power Point program on my little tablet crunching, working to turn the recorded lecture into an .mp4 video file that could be uploaded to YouTube. This crunching normally goes quickly, but in this case, it took a solid two and a half hours. I don’t know what the issue was – it doesn’t have anything to do with the internet connection. Maybe there was some flaw in the file or something? Anyway, at last the file was ready to go and I started the little “clef” up and connected to the internet. The file was almost 1 GB, enormous by any standard, so I figured it would take a while. I was intending to go out and so I would just leave it running while I was out, and a couple of hours later, YouTube would have more of my babbling.
No sign of Bousso, though. Also, Djibi had (finally) called back and reported that the bike salesman was away from his store and wouldn’t be back until the afternoon. Djibi said he’d come by about 5:00; I reported the appointment with Sawadogo and asked if Djibi could hang around for a while and take me to my various errands on his moto if the bike had not been fixed. Djibi agreed and we said we’d meet about 5:30.
I went back to work, reading Jurgen Osterhammel’s The Transformation of the World, a history of the 19th century that I was considering assigning to students in Humanities next year – probably not, it is a little too dense and Germanic for American undergraduates. Still very interesting, though. I got some good ideas for my current lecture on the US in WW1, about the rise of national bureaucracies and the connection to mass military mobilization, liberal political systems, and colonialism. A very broad thinker, Dr. Osterhammel.
The YouTube upload ground on until 5:00, and finally I got another call from M. Sawadogo, regretting that he couldn’t make contact with the guardian service guy and he would try again tomorrow. He does have my electricity bill, though. I made an appointment him at his office tomorrow morning, where at least I can get my electric bill paid.
While I was getting ready to go out, I got a text from Fanny, Mariette’s big sister. She is a big, tall, handsome teenager, probably 18 or 19 though still in the equivalent of the junior year of high school. She has a phone and loves to text, just like everybody that age around the world. She needs more money, this time for another sister in the village. I think they’ve gotten the impression that I am made of money. I’m prepared to help the girls go to school but I don’t want to take on a whole African family with all its needs.
At this point, I lost faith in the arrival of Bousso, and I set forth. During the day, I had decided that my phone was too infested with malware to be saved, and I did a factory reset. I am happy to report that it works faster now, but getting the mobile data connected again required visiting my young friend with the English degree at the Telmob office. With no bike and no Djibi, I had to go on foot. It is about a half an hour away, something like 2 km. I got the phone set up and began to download my apps again while walking back. I stopped into a neighborhood restaurant where I’ve had excellent fish and rice before, but “Tantie” was not around. They would have been happy to serve me all the beer and bottled water I could put down, but no food unless I wanted to go out the door and buy a roast chicken or some brochettes from the street vendors. I elected to walk another kilometer to the “pizzeria”, where I was able to buy the classic French dinner of steak au poivre vert avec pommes frites (steak in a cream sauce with peppercorns and french fries). Very nice. And there was some beer there too.
And then I came home to do a little venting. YouTube is still not done processing my video. I may have to upload it again tomorrow.
After all that beer, I got to thinking about my bladder, and that reminded me of a sign I saw in the park yesterday. The sign says “your urine is worth gold, use the ECOSAN latrines”. And there’s an EU flag on it. I didn’t use the latrines on my trip to the park. They looked pretty much like any other latrines you’ve ever used…