Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Christmas 2014

No sooner had school ended for the Christmas break than I headed out with some friends to Burkina Faso.  People always talk about Burkina admiringly because it has quite a few more stores than we do and often has treasures that we only dream about getting here in Niger.  But one thing that is not better is the road!  It was full of potholes and 70 something speed bumps by our count.  However, a change of scenery is always interesting because just a country a way, they can do things so differently.

For example, women ride bikes.  There are bike parking areas and they neatly line up motorcycles and bikes on the top of buses and vans so that the people can ride inside.

Here we all are crossing the border out of Burkina and back into Niger.

After our quick trip to Burkina, it was time to get ready for the annual Christmas with the R family.  That equals fondue and family fun - like a nativity.  I think this year might have been my favorite as the story of Jesus birth was told via song styles through the ages.  Here we have the wise cowboys serenading the baby Jesus.

We ended the evening with a reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Grandpa R to his grandchildren.  Those naughty boys in the background!

After Christmas, I returned to my apartment only to find that something unexpected and quite unwanted had come to visit - A RAT!  I was standing at my kitchen sink when I heard a rustling in the cupboards that was quite unusual so I threw open the door and came face to face with a rat.  We scared each other.  While he ran to a dark corner of the cupboard, I retreated to my sink leaving the door hanging open.  After a few minutes, I came to my senses and realized that leaving the door open was quite a silly thing to do because technically, I had him trapped if the door was closed.  So I closed it and began to consider my options.  A trap - that had been wholly unsuccessful the last time there had been a rat in my apartment.  A cat - what cat wouldn't want a free meal?  That seemed like the sure solution so I called my friend Jeannie and asked if she would kindly lend me hers.  And that was how Puddy came to visit on Boxing Day.

Look at those claws, doesn't he just look ready to kill a rat?

Was it performance anxiety?  Was it a shrew and not a rat?  We will never know.  But we can say this for sure, Puddy wasn't too keen on killing it.  The rat ran back and forth directly within the sight line of Puddy multiple times as I chased it back and forth between rooms.  Puddy sat calmly in just about this position even during the moment etched in my brain where the rat scurried across the floor, hit my green tupperware bowl and went airborne.  I've not seen or heard from the rat since that day so I'm hoping that the mere presence of Puddy scared it away for a long while.  And that my friends was Christmas 2014!

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