Thursday, May 20, 2010

Days 14-19 in Africa

The weather here was San Diego June Gloom-y at the end of last week and beginning of this week. Each day would start overcast and muggy, the sun would burn through the haze around noon and we'd see some blue skies for about 5 hours before it hazed up again. The past two days, however, have been clear skies but really hot and humid. In spite of the sticky weather, children still are out playing football, and wives and mothers still huddle over steaming pots of rice and yassa, adding spices and stirring the dark brown liquid broth.
Dr. Johnson and I, on the other hand, have been trying to work at our usual break-neck pace, but are finding it increasingly difficult to have energy in the sweltering
heat and stay hydrated. Even so, we have accomplished a lot this past several days:

1. Ambassador's Reception: We were able to meet, and set up a future appointment with the Ambassador.

2. Baptism fete: We were invited by a Bijoutier and his family to join them in the celebration of their son's/grandson's baptism. A white lamb was sacrificed as part of the ceremony, and we were able to sit with the whole family on the floor around huge vats of rice and mouton and eat the wonderfully seasoned stuff with our hands.

3. Interviewed the Bijoutier Oumar and his Uncle Abou who has a son in Ohio!

4. Purchased several incredible pieces for the exhibition. One piece bearing the traditional oiseau design is an exact replica of a piece Dr. Johnson had in a photo of a woman she took back in the 60s. She's hoping to mount the photo directly above the bracelet in the exhibition.

5. Feasted on incredible Chwarma at a local Lebanese family-run restau near the Sandaga market.

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