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January 5, 1998

This morning, Uschi is making a cake for Leon, but all the eggs had chickens inside, so it’s a cake without eggs. I guess if it’s sweet and chocolate, Leon will like it. We talked for a long time last night about who to breed to Cinnamon. Many breeding plans formulated and discarded. Our favorite game!

Today, after making the cake, we continued on to Markoye. It’s very windy and dusty today. I hope that the market is in a protected area. It’s so hard walking outside when the wind blows so hard and the dirt gets all over and in your eyes. The Baobob trees are really weird looking. Reinhard told a story about the trees and why they look as they do.

It goes like this: God was angry about something and he took the Baobob trees and yanked them out of the ground and turned them upside down with the roots growing out. It made a good story and was believable considering the appearance of the trees.

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I am very sick today. Really bad diarrhea. At the market at Markoye, I was very uncomfortable, but we got a lot of great stuff. About halfway through the market, a young man who spoke very polite broken English attached himself to me and followed me around trying to help out. I didn’t know if I could trust him, so I wouldn’t let him carry anything. Anyway, I bought a leather and wood basket, a small gourd container, two camel saddle bags (gorgeous), some jewelry, and three African slingshots. Uschi and Reinhard had rice with sauce at a cafe. I could not. A boy came to sell goat entrails also. ARGH. There were some tourists dressed as Tuaregs and they were the joke of the market. I’m sure that they paid lots more than we did.  The boy came to the car with us, and I gave him some socks and a shirt. He was very pleased.

After we parked for the night, I continued to be very sick. Couldn’t even sit up for long. I rode in the back most of the day, but it is so bumpy back there. Don’t know which is worse, nausea from sitting up or nausea from bumping around in the back. Had to change my underclothes three times today. It sucked.  We were visited by lots of people this evening. Fulani villages near our parking place. We saw three coarse sighthound-like dogs. Thick ears, fat curly tails, short legs, fat necks and a little bit of underline. One particolor, one red, one golden red like Dayyat with the lighter undersides. The people were very friendly. Uschi gave them some dates, which they really enjoyed. Then they invited Reinhard and Leon back to their village. They returned a short time later with a dead guinea. Uschi was stressing out pretty bad thinking about plucking and gutting the sucker. Uschi gave them some small cadeau and I gave them some socks and a shirt. The head man immediately dropped to the ground in prayer, thanking God for the gifts. Then, they invited us all to their village. Uschi wanted to stay and pluck the bird, but one of the young men offered to do it. So, he did. Probably not as good a job but lots faster. Then we all went to the village. By then, it was pretty dark.

Before we left, I made a picture of the particolor dog who was hanging around the car. The dogs seem much friendlier here and seem to trust their owners more. In Niger, they were running away from the owners, especially the kids. Anyway, everyone wanted to be in the photos, so I took one of a bunch of men, their bicycle and their dog. They were so proud!

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Bikes are very common in Burkina from a Chinese project to provide them to the country. There are bike paths, races and repair shops. It’s weird to be driving miles from anywhere and encounter a lone figure pedaling away on his bicycle instead of a donkey or camel.

So off to the village we went, with my pockets crammed with toilet paper, just in case. We were provided with mats to sit on and fed “jip-jip” and some kind of small yellow fruits. Of course, I couldn’t eat anything. I was scared to death that they would ask us to eat with them. But they just sat around and we stared at them and talked and they stared at us and talked. None of us knew each other’s language. The little girls were enamored with Leon and stood around him giggling and pointing. The women were polite, the men sitting around. At one point, Uschi thought to get some names and we were able to get three of the little girl’s names. Aisad (I-sad), Faoumata, and Anata. They got a kick out of Uschi’s name and repeated it over and over again. Then one of the women set about clarifying the relationships among us. Uschi signed that we were sisters. It was the easiest to explain. And that the rest was her family. As usual, they love Leon’s blonde hair. They look at ours, but mostly Leon’s. Leon went inside one of the huts and came back with a description of the inside. About the beds and such. The women were alarmed when he went in, but I think that they enjoyed him. One of the men came out with a large carrying case. I asked Reinhard if it was a boom box. Oh, Yeah, It was. A big one. The man carefully put in the batteries, and a tape of African music. Very weird and discordant, no even rhythm. But the little girls started clapping and then one man started dancing around. Then the men motioned for us to go. So we got up and we all went back, accompanied by half a dozen men to the car. They brought tea over with some coals and some wood. I teased Uschi that the party was moving t the car. She said NO, I said Yes. It was so. They set up their fire outside the car, put the tape in the boom box and proceeded to party down. Uschi made spaghetti with garlic, onions and oil. I went to bed. Had all I could take of partying. Poor Uschi didn’t get any dinner. By the time, she went back after walking the dogs, the men had eaten everything in sight. So she cleaned up and went to bed with a few jip-jip for digestion. Last night I was too sick to eat. Only drank a little water and some tea with sugar for the last two days. The party continued until after I slept.

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