Friday, June 12, 2009

Chez Missionary

This is the house we are renting from absent missionaries that we share with a rotating number of German Swiss men, also missionaries (and one of whom is moving his wife and four kids in on Monday). Elderly missionaries in chinos and skirts walk the beach and drive sturdy new Toyota Landcruisers. Our surfer friend has church - with a band - on Saturdays in his backyard. Even Myers sings off-key and absurdly high-pitched hymns until we put on Beck or Fela Kuti loud enough to drown him out.

Sub-letting on a missionary compound leads people we meet to assume that we are also missionaries. After we tell them where we live, there's always a hesitation, which we scramble to fill with "We're not missionaries! We like to drink! Invite us to your parties!" or something like it, hoping not to sound too desperate.

This is how close we are to the ocean, which at the moment is angry and onshore. It's rainy season, about 25 C, and rained so much last night that the river outside our wall is full and flooded.

There are certain things I'm not telling you. For instance, the garden is infested with small biting ants that sting like needles for 8-12 minutes post-exposure, then 24 hours later come back again and feel like the most seductive mosquito bite you've ever wanted to scratch. It is rare that I venture into the crabgrass without getting bitten, despite having adopted a dictatorial march step to avoid standing in one spot for too long. The windows, even when closed, let in rain: this morning our dishtowels were commissioned into soaking up and mopping what became 2 liters of water from the rain last night. Also, there is an unidentified scuttling animal, that could be a mouse but is probably a very large flying cockroach, whose swift and shadowed movements startle shrieks out of me every time we encounter one another.

More importantly, my leather sandals have grown green mold spores twice now, and I'm not sure what to do. Spray them with Doom? Bug spray? Dishwashing soap? Advise welcome.

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