I want to breed a goat that eats plastic. Then, the streets and rivers of Senegal and Guinea would be clean.
We finished our second day of teacher training today. We have 28 people in the class, and it runs from 9am-1pm. My parts are pretty short, and I carefully script myself. This morning, I practiced for a little bit with about 10 people who showed up early. They got to laugh at me a bit - because me trying to teach in French is giggle-worthy. Laughter grows warmth, vulnerability grows trust. Or at least that was my plan. They were rooting me on, for sure.
It is Saturday night, and we are hitting a nightclub in Labe. I would have thought this was impossible, except that I am sitting in it. Feels like what I imagine a dive club in Everett to be. Loud music on a sound system. Guys who are casually dressed with scrupulous care; a pool table. They probably don’t have shisha pipes in Everett, but I’ve actually never been to a dive bar in Everett so I am kind of making this all up. It just all feels so...bland. The Facebook chokehold on the planet is startling. If they could decide to do something good, my goodness, what reach they have. There is no one here who is not scrolling FB and Instagram.
Inexplicably, there are three orange, reflective traffic guards in this bar. Based on our car rides this far, I would have thought these were unknown objects in this land. Instead of being outside, alerting cars to obstacles, they are inside separating the pool table from sunken white vinyl couches. Ahmadou and I literally pulled low branches from a tree today to put in the street (the same street that is the main - only - road from Conakry to Labe) to give more visibility to a huge obstacle in the road because we watched a motorbike and a bicycle collide when trying to avoid it. A couple hours later, someone had removed our branches. Ahmadou keeps asking me if my world is upside down; that stuff certainly feels askew.
I went to a “garden” yesterday. It was in a bit of dense forest, and someone with passion and vision (and perhaps a touch of madness) had cleared paths, and the paths were lined with carefully planted seedlings that were all in plastic jugs being recycled from whatever their first purpose was. The paths were reinforced with tires, and tires sunk I to the dirt formed steps. This place was pretty big, and the tree the tree canopy was high. So it felt like ducking into some other world. It was really beautiful - quiet, shadowy, and an unbelievable amount of work by whomever did it.
My plastic-eating goats would have had a field day here as the river at the base of this garden was clogged with bags and bottles and jugs.