Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Out and About

Our temporary Ambassador departed last Thursday now that the new DCM/Chargé has had a few weeks to settle in.

The Embassy Americans gathered last Tuesday at the Baracouda Restaurant on Beach Road to bid farewell to Ambassador Twining, and all told we took up 32 seats. A far cry from Embassy gatherings in Manila, to be sure.
Ambassador Twining sat opposite me, so we had the opportunity to chat over dinner. He raised his children in West Africa and spent time in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. I asked him which years he spent there as DCM, and learned that from 86-89 his boys attended ISO. I was in Niamey, Niger from 86-88 and had traveled to Ouaga for swim meets. When Carol Beckwith spoke at ASN, he and his family came to Niamey. Later I asked my dad if he remembered DCM Twining, and wouldn’t you know…
The world is so very small. Or maybe it’s just the world in this line of work.
On Thursday night, we walked over to the school for Open House. The school is a 10 minute jaunt from our house on relatively safe streets. I wouldn’t do it by myself, and I had reservations about walking back in the dark, but the streets are busy and we felt OK. Not meandering, mind you, but getting where we needed to go.
The Open House was actually informative. Rebecca and Nicholas have Emily Gilkinson an “independent learning” teacher. She arrived on August 18th and really worked to get her room together so that it’s bright and busy, full of books and hands-on materials. She’s is on top of the differing needs of each of the 7 kids in her class. She sent home a handwriting workbook for Nicholas to do at his own pace, and except for being able to read, he is doing several areas of first grade work. I’ve also asked her to send home worksheets for Jonathon to do. He can do most Kindergarten work and right now he’s bugging the other kids when they’re trying to do their homework. He’s excited about getting his own papers to do.
Mr. Naylor, Katherine’s teacher, has a long way to go with getting his room together. At the moment it’s a gray and bland classroom. I worry about Katherine’s education over all with the “fun” teacher who gives Create Your Own Word Search as a homework assignment, but once we receive our belongings I’ll take on a much bigger portion of her schooling. AISL will be good for French class, Art, Music, P.E. and friends, but she is well beyond the assignments she’s currently bringing home.
Tomorrow I’ll be at the school all day to check out the library, make notes, and dive in with reorganizing and filtering out ancient books. Should be fun.
Saturday, we walked down the street the opposite direction to a restaurant called L’Okavango. It’s a charming outdoor establishment with an aviary in the center and a small herd of deer that roam around. The tables are tucked under thatched roof cabanas with a view of the aviary. The food was pretty good too, and they even have a child entrée of chicken and fries.
It’s best to stay away from beef here. Not a lot of cows around.
On Sunday after church, we returned to Coco Beach to check on the puppies and let the kids play in the sand and shallows. The pups have grown quite a bit, as puppies do, but are still blind little sausages. We’ll go back in a couple weeks and check in on them again. The search is on now to find puppy food and supplies for when we bring one of the rascals home. It seems the overwhelming recommendation to choose a female, for the slightly smaller size and less aggressive/alpha tendencies.
Nicholas didn’t last long in the water. He has very sensitive skin and something keeps causing odd rashes here and there, so the water and sand irritated him too much to stay in. The others had a good time splashing around with the dogs and finding shells.
For lunch, I had avocat crevette again. So yummy and reminds me so much of the shrimp dip my dad used to make, and it really is the perfect beachside lunch. Rebecca and Jonathon shared quiche lorraine and Katherine and Nicholas shared grilled gambas. I could get used to this. Oh wait, already am.
As an aside, we took our mefloquine on Saturday again, no problem. But it seems that some of us are experiencing side effects. Nicholas is having nightmares, which he never had before, and I cannot sleep. I wake time and again at night, knowing I should be tired, but my mind races. Today I tried to take a nap, but couldn’t. I just keep thinking and thinking, about nonsense mostly, and then when I do doze I have vivid emotional dreams. I’m tired, I know I’m tired, but have no desire to sleep.
Oh, and our consumables? They were shipped… today. We set the order in July and told them our departure date of 29 August. Why was it shipped… today?

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