Noooo! Hole 2 down. My friend Tiken thinks a bull sat on it and I can’t imagine a better explanation given the damage. The second basket is closest to the entrance of the bull pen hazard so it’s not that surprising of an occurrence.
What is surprising is that fixing it was probably the most eventful part of my day. Now, I’m not saying I miss the sweat lodge of math-phobic teenagers that is high school here, but when I have an hour or two of classes to teach, my day has purpose: there’s a clear problem (kids can’t factor) and solution (you bet I can) to my daily schedule. During the summer months it’s possible to go entire moon cycles without that feeling of purpose, especially when all of my friends are either cultivating in their fields (summer season is also rainy season) or laying around in the shade all day fasting for Ramadan.
There’s nothing to do, woe is Clay, how could this happen to him, etc.
And then it hits me: in two months I’ll be unemployed in my parents’ basement. What more do I want now than to go to the marché with Saiouba on the back of my bike and have dolo with a bunch of old drunk ladies? Or to play a round of disc golf with a student named Gilles and talk about who we’ll support during next week’s episode of WWE Raw? I’ve been here over two years but that American mindset of always keeping busy, always working towards something, is still so deeply ingrained that I haven’t quite managed to shake it. So deeply ingrained that I still forget how simple and beautiful life can be in a place with no processed foods, fast paced TV commercials, or Buzzfeed “articles”.
So anyway what I’m getting at is that during the summer when a bull sits on my handmade disc golf hole I jump on the opportunity to do something with myself. The day has a distinct problem and solution and all is good.
I take it all back! I did things!
The Saturday after I wrote out those few slightly depressing paragraphs, Founzan saw its first ever primary school end-of-the-year girls soccer championship game. This was an idea I brought to Dabire (my community counterpart) as I was going through somewhat of a mid-service crisis last year and was feeling like I hadn’t done anything for Founzan’s primary schools. There were already boys teams and a big championship game for them so I kind of saw it as my own little West African Title IX. Besides its conception, I can’t take any credit for this project. I had a few soccer balls given to me and a trophy and medals that my mom donated, along with a small amount of funding from a family friend*, but besides handing those things over, Dabire took care of everything. So, on the day of the event when Dabire called me and told me that I needed to dress myself well, I was confused. I told him I’d wear pants.
I biked across town with Derek trailing me and Saiouba on the back of my bike, a pair of pants professionally secured to my waistline. When I arrived, I was promptly sat down with the fonctionnaires (fonctionnaire is french for « holier than thou »), dead front and center under their big top, next to the provincial prefect and the provincial directrice of education, with Saiouba in my lap and Derek at my feet, growling at important people walking by who he didn’t trust. My donations of soccer balls and a small trophy apparently went a long way, and I suddenly understood why this primary school soccer match wasn’t pants optional for me: I was a guest of honor. I also noticed that none of the fonctionnaires around me had come to the game accompanied by their dog or their squirming, snot nosed, 2-year-old neighbor, who kept sprawling out on the empty chair next to me and climbing into my lap trying to take my glasses off my face and saying things in Moore that I didn’t understand. Having an antsy toddler squirming in your lap teaches you more about family planning than any high school health class ever can.
Anyway it was pretty embarrassing. The MC directed everyone’s attention my way to thank me for my contribution while Saiouba wriggled around, stretching himself over my legs and spreading toddler snot everywhere. Then I got to go down the line of girls to shake their hands before the match and Derek got up to follow me, scaring little girls as I wished them good luck. After opening the game with the « first kick » (didn’t know that was a thing), I angry-biked both Derek and Saiouba home, then reclaimed my front and center fonctionnaire seat and did my best not to nod off during the game. Woo soccer.
Again, I really didn’t have much to do with this; it was almost all Dabire. But I’m super proud that it happened and it meant a lot to me to hand the trophy over to the girl from Kovio who scored the winning goal during penalty kicks.
*Thanks Judy Heald!!