Monday, March 10, 2008

Market Day in Boguila, Central African Republic

Boguila, Central African Republic

Sunday was the day off here today. I felt a bit lazy because I wasn’t out running around and interviewing everyone but I didn’t want to bother the staff on their day off. (Another difference to Refugees International!) I went to the very tiny and uninspiring market in Boguila with one of the French Canadian nurses. She knows everyone’s names and stops to chat and make jokes. She knows many of the people in the market. I really enjoyed accompanying her. Finally - one of the staff practicing proximity! The town was small and it was hot - about 100 degrees. Some nice memories from today – taking photos again of little kids in the market place which makes them happy and they laugh. Looking at the stuff on sale in the market place. Walking around saying Bonjour to everyone. Walking home from the office with a little kerosene lamp under the pitch black sky, the smell of the white flowered tree which smells like gardenias, the big fat stars in the sky, another cool shower in the hot hot dusty evening before crawling into the mosquito netting. Beer kept cold in the vaccine refrigerator. Listening to Yamore by Selif Keita and eating Crepes with nutella and plum jam on them for breakfast.

Bad memories: the pit latrine. the polyester sheets.

The roads here are better than in most African countries and better than I would have expected for a country billed as Africa’s forgotten humanitarian crisis. It seems calm. It seems like a sleepy little African country. They have taxation points and check points and a paved and graded road. Even the “bad part” of the road was not as bad as roads I’ve ridden on in Haiti, DR Congo, Liberia, or South Sudan. There are mango trees planted all along the road and its not deforested or trashed. There are no teeming over crowded camps without a tree around them. The hospital that MSF runs is nice and this house for expats is rather nice. The latrine is truly the cleanest one I’ve ever used in Africa. It’s so much better than where we were staying in Darfur in 2004 or in Liberia with Fidele or even in Ituri.

We ate a boa constrictor casserole for dinner and listened to one of the doctors play guitar. In bed by nine pm.

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