Monday, March 3, 2008


It's been a somewhat hectic few weeks, with rainstorms that have knocked down power lines and wreaked havoc with internet service in all of the various internet cafes I use. A big storm at the end of last week even tore huge holes in the roofs of both school buildings. Until new tarpaulins can be purchased, we are just hoping the dry season lives up to its name.

This is how the roof looks from inside Class 6. Rain clouds have moved over the area and storms are forecast for later today. In the end I think we will just have to manage, a favorite approach to just about everything around here.

Lunch continues to be served four days a week. The three cooks amaze me, cooking over open three-stone fires in incredible heat while Fatmata's year-old son, Nyake, crawls around all of the pots and pans without harm and occasionally makes his way to his mother's lap where he suckles while she peels onions or cleans fish or washes dishes. Three-year-old Mohamed keeps himself entertained pulling around an ingenious little car that Alhassan, Fatmata's teenaged brother, made for him out of a sardine tin, lollipop sticks and water bottle caps. Friends and relatives stop by; petty traders bring their wares in large tubs and the cooks take a break to bargain with them; children from neighboring houses run over to see what left-overs are available.

We are now serving rice and plasass separately. Plasass is the Krio word for the various sauces made of greens and fish or meat that are served here. We serve cassava leaf and fish, potato leaf and fish, crin-crin (I have seen the plant and eaten it, but have no idea what it's called in English) and fish, and black-eyed peas and fish. The teachers are unanimous that the food is delicious, and the children never leave anything in their bowls. Personally I feel utterly dehydrated after eating my bowlful: they use so much pepper and palm oil, which has a sharp taste. All of this is possible because of a donation from students at the Waldorf High School of Massachusetts Bay.

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