My cough is worse today but the rest of me feels better. On the walk to work, the morning mist felt cool against my hot skin.
It serves me right to be sick. I kiss too many children without washing my hands enough.
I learned more about Monica while at her house yesterday. (It was a good time, by the way!)
For example, Monica’s Acholi name is “Lamono” as in, “The White Person”. According to her husband, this is because “She was especially beautiful when she was born”. That explanation made me shudder a bit, obviously, but – still – it is very fun to now call her “Lamonobye!” and “Lamazungo!”
(In West Africa, I was giving an “African” name – Fatima Bintu Kanotay; Fateem, for short – but here, it’s the opposite, and all my African friends have “Western” names – like Monica, Janet, Jimmy, Mark, Patricia, Lisa, Joyce, Kevin… Sometimes the Western names seem to have been given amidst a bit of confusion – Kevin, for example, is a girl.)
I also learned more about the situation two days ago with the men prone by the side of the road. Apparently, the first man whom Monica found, surrounded by the crowd of children? Who’d crashed his bike? Apparently (I hadn’t seen this) he was bleeding badly, and also trashed-drunk.
“Where are you coming from?” asked Monica.
“The ginnery!” the man slurred.
Monica got him water and tried to get him to wash his cut before he stumbled off, bike in tow, chain dangling.
But she couldn’t help him much. He was too drunk-delusional.
So of course, when she saw the second man, totally passed out drunk/dead and half hidden in the brush, of course she laughed. And of course she kept walking. I would have, too.
(Anyway, we walk past drunken, passed out, homeless people every day in DC, only calling for help rarely. That’s the same thing – or worse.)
I tried to talk to J about using rainwater for cleaning and showering, and leaving the borehole water for drinking.
“You drink that water?” asked J, incredulous.
“You don’t?” I asked, confused.
“No, I can’t drink that!” said J. “I can’t drink that water! I buy my water.”
We buy, in actual fact, the borehole water, but it’s much, much, much cheaper. J has never pitched in. I don’t think he knows that we buy it. Maybe he thinks it magically appears on the doorstep, just for him.
J paused, and thought. “Do you boil that water at least?”
“Yes. Of course. We boil it,” I said, although we don’t always.
I’m planning a party for Halloween.