Friday, February 27, 2009

Sweet homecoming (Part 2)

So, yeah it's pretty sweet to be back. The stress of dividing up gifts and handing out treats (which is expected of any returned traveler, not just me) was outweighed by the pleasure in people's faces when they received them. Thank you--you know who you are--for helping me pick out all of the kids' clothes, candy, bracelets, flashlights, beads, lotion, pencils, everything. I've seen more delighted, surprised faces in the last two days than in a whole decade of birthdays. And I tell you, for folks who don't have a mirror to see themselves in, getting a photo of themselves is one of the most exciting and beguiling things imaginable. It's hard for me to know what it must be like; many people seem to recognize themselves in photos only by their clothes. I guess that's how it is if you haven't had many opportunities to see yourself.

The guys--those who are still here are probably a tenth of the normal number; the rest are on work exode--are especially into talking about the snow and coldness right now. (One of the times I called Ayuba while I was in Oregon was during a huge snowstorm, and he was super interested). They also want to know all about Obama, how long it takes me to get home, and whether or not I'll take them with me next time.

The gals are all preoccupied with whether or not I got married while I was home. Apparently many of them are convinced that was my primary objective of the trip--and to be fair, I had joked about it a couple of times. It's been too bad to disappoint them with my ongoing unmarried status, but I have comforted them somewhat with photos of my guy friends (all of whom are "hot!" according to 100% of poll-takers.)

These village men were happy to give advice before I left ("Teach your parents Hausa!"), and even happier to see me return.

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