It’s been a week since I went to the airport in Minneapolis. Tomorrow will be the first of five weeks that I’ve been here. Update, I think I’m getting a little cold. I hope not, but I think I am. I’ve been eating a bunch of vitamin C which will hopefully help to fight it off and drinking tea and lots of other fluids in general.
Story time – a couple of days ago, my host mother brought in a basket of fruit: apples, oranges, and bananas. At our orientation, they told us that if your host family has kids, then they’ll want to come in and take everything that is yours because they think it’s theirs. I felt bad at first saying no to the kids, but then I realized that I shouldn’t. On the first day, the girl grabbed my cell phone, punched in random numbers and started calling people. Another day, she grabbed my camera when I wasn’t paying close attention. At one point, she grabbed my glasses put them on and started running around. Which scared the jeepers out of me, because that is the only pair I have with me. On that first day, she also grabbed my cell phone that I use in the states and started pressing buttons, but because it was turned off, nothing was happening. She wasn’t familiar with this phone so she didn’t know how to turn it on, so she runs out the back door on to the little patio saying corbeille, corbeille (not sure if that is spelled correctly). I didn’t recognize the word, then I realized that she was trying to throw my cell phone away. I got it back, but I had to start paying even closer attention to her.
So, back to the fruit thing. But before the fruit thing, to set it up even more, Bazzine (the girl) saw my computer on the bed, which I had out because it needed to be charged, and she said, “Joue. Joue.” Which means “play, play.” I responded with the equivalent of a “hell no” for me, but in French, “Non. Non. Non. Non. Non. Non. [plus a couple more probably].” After that, Bazzine, with Daoda (her brother), pointed at the fruit. She started saying “C’est pour moi. C’est pour moi.” And I said, “Non, c’est pour moi.” Which is basically “It’s for me, it’s for me.” I also told her, in french, that if she eats the banana or orange or apple, then she won’t have hunger for dinner (literal translation). But she just looked at me with a confused face. I didn’t feel bad about it, because, again, we were told this at orientation. So, Bazzine leaves, and Daoda is standing outside the door, and I’m sitting on the bed reading a book, and she whispers something to Daoda. Daoda said something, which I didn’t understand, and then Bazzine runs back in forth in front of the door yelling it. I didn’t know what they were saying, and then I realized that they were angry that I hadn’t given them an orange. So I looked at Bazzine and said, “I don’t understand you.” And she responds saying that I am a fool. At this point, I was really annoyed, so I began putting all of my books away in the closet where they couldn’t see them, my glasses, and everything else of value. They kept running around in the hallways screaming the same thing I couldn’t understand. So I kicked them out of the room and closed the door. Bazzine ran to the little window that connects my room to the door and started chanting through that, so I closed the window, and she pushed it back open. At this point, I sat on the bed and put in my headphones. I stayed in my room until dinner because I didn’t want to deal with the two.
Honestly, Bazzine is the difficult one, and she’s the one who is always causing the trouble. Daoda is a sweetheart when Bazzine is not around, and she seems to poison him and get him all riled up. She’ll also do stuff to make him cry during the evenings when no one is looking.
Bazzine reminds me of the host sisters we had in Morocco. I was scared of them. There were six children total and the two youngest were girls. My favorite was Mohammad who was about 11 or so. He was a sweet heart. The two girls we lived with were terrifying. I don’t know what it is about little girls, maybe it’s a cultural thing. I wonder if all little girls are like this, or just at this age.
One day when I was walking across Pont Faidherbe, the bridge that connects the Island to the mainland, I decided to walk behind some school girls in the 15-yr-old age range. I assumed that would be a good idea and reduce harassment. However, that didn’t prevent me from getting hustled by them. One girl, like all the other people I run into on the street, started asking me for money. So, like always, I gave her a confused look and walked faster. At orientation, they told us not to give money to people in the streets either.
I mentioned this before somewhere (at least I think I did) was that they told us if you don’t say hello it’s considered rude. So, most of the time I say Bonjour to a student on my street (there’s also a school, so I figure it’s not too dangerous to say hello), and then they ask for 5 francs. (Always 5 francs, not sure why.) Then I tilt my head and give them a confused look. I feel that will be the majority of my time spent here. Tilted head accompanied with a confused look.