In October, we had a Halloween party on our roof. The young lady who lives in the other side of our duplex invited a mess of people over for the party. This is where you meet people at their core. They danced on our roof terrace until the wee hours of the morning and you get to watch and enjoy their love of life. One pretty young lady wore a beautiful headdress and when I asked her where she got it, she told me her native Afghanistan. Her parents left during the Russo-Afghan war and lived in California. She told me she speaks Dari (Persian) and her Afghan boyfriend speaks Pashto, both languages are spoken in Afghanistan, but the only language the two have in common is English.There were several friends of our neighbor’s boyfriend, who came from several different countries in Africa. One particular heavy-set individual from Côte d’ Ivoire (Ivory Coast) fell in love with me because I gave him cigars throughout the night. I don’t know what he did with them, because it would have taken him all night to smoke one, which is why I take only cheap cigars to parties. He even stopped to give me a kiss on the cheek before leaving for the night. These are incredible people and I am saddened because next Summer we will have to leave Africa.
In mid-November, I flew to Juba for a few days and returned right before Thanksgiving. Juba is one of the sewer pits we travel to every few months. It is the capitol of the new country that split off from Sudan a year ago, last July. It is now South Sudan. Mostly Christian, whereas Sudan itself is mostly Muslim.
We work at two different compounds in Juba, each one about 400 paces apart. While there, I walk the distance about a dozen times a day. Most of the roads resemble alleys in many poorer parts of an American city, except wider. In that 400 pace walk, I estimated there are about 1000 empty water bottles strewn everywhere on that one street. Juba is just getting into its hot months with temps consistently above 100 everyday, and will top out in the 120’s in a few months. But during the rainy season, it rains hard almost every day. So there are deep ruts on all the dirt roads in the city. Some are actually 2 feet deep and all vehicles trudge around them while avoiding all the pedestrians and motorbikes. Below is a typical street.
Unfortunately, we didn’t stay late due to me feeling like crap. Friday was the same with headache and chills. That evening, in the mirror I happen to notice a strange red circle about the size of a dime on my forearm. The next day, Saturday, it was darker and increased to the size of a nickel. Turned out to be a spider bite acquired in Juba. I cleaned it well, and rubbed some salt into it until I had a chance to cover it with antiseptic. From then, it slowly healed over a period of a week. Sorry, no pictures.
Following that, I went to Djibouti City, Djibouti for about a week. Djibouti is another sewer pit but the roads are better and the hotel is excellent. My lovely wife joined me for a few days and was coddled by the hotel staff. She needed it. Below is a pic of the local inhabitants and then one of the sunset with the cranes at the shipyard.
We have four RSTs, (Regional Security Techs) who are local men who work with us. When I set up travel arrangements for them, I notice each of them seem to have multiple names, so the other day I asked them about that. It turns out they retain their father’s given name. Not his last name, but first. And they may include a grandfather’s name as well. So, my name would be Dwaine Quenton Theodore. They have no last name like we do. Ayten uses five names, so I guess it goes back to his great-great-grandfather.
We went to the little pizza place on the hill the other night and visited with Hywät. Since she is attending medical school, Terese decided to give her a stethoscope she didn’t need any more. It was a very noble and compassionate gesture. Hywät reciprocated by giving Terese a pair of shoes. They look ugly to me, but Terese loves them.My brother flew to Addis last week and set foot on African soil for the first time. It was good to have him as we sat for hours discussing the problems of the world with fine cigars and cheap whiskey, plus it got me and Terese out of the city. We took two trips through the countryside and saw some incredible sites. I’ll sort through some later and post soon. But I will post a pic now that was taken while he was here. No, it’s not him, but a monkey that came to visit him. Until later. D.