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Showing posts from November, 2016

The Incinerator, Soldier Ants, and Mercy

Perhaps surprisingly, garbage trucks don’t venture down our dirt road weekly here in Northwest Cameroon. Typically, garbage is dumped in a “pit” some distance from the house, and routinely burned. Our pit had been filled in at the request of our neighbors, who didn’t want to breathe in the diaper stench during the burning sessions (reasonable).  Fortunately, we don’t have a lot of garbage because most things we buy are not pre-packaged, and we have a large compost pile for fruit and vegetable wastes. Unfortunately, the new drop-off location for our garbage is half a mile up the hill at the hospital incinerator (every bit as scary as it sounds). So, our current sanitary disposal options are as follow. Plan A: our gardener, Keneth, brings the quarter-full, small garbage pail to the incinerator several times per week. As an aside, I am often amazed at how little garbage we produce here. In the US, I would bring out at least a large grocery sack full daily.  Unfortunately, today h

Musings of an American in Africa on Veterans' Day

"Please Daddy, will you give mercy?" Our three-year-old squinted up at his Daddy, waiting for his response. The present report of his day's behavior, under most circumstances, would earn a relatively significant consequence. But that sweet, trusting voice. And such a sincere request. Ethan looked down at him. "I will give... no...mercy!" he declared as he began tickling Josiah, who collapsed into a pile of relieved giggles. *  *  * I sit here broken today, an American in Africa on Veterans' Day. Two days ago, the world witnessed a nearly exact split of votes in a U.S. presidential election that offered many of us two unsupportable options. Since we are geographically removed from the fray, it is hard to imagine the demonstrations of hatred that have erupted in our passport country this week. But we don't have to imagine them, because we can see them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We can see them, and feel the nausea that began during the pr