Hi world! Unfortunately this blog might only exist as writing now. I knew the electronics of this computer had problems, as I am occasionally electrocuted by the key-board. But suddenly both my hard-drive and my camera aren’t working. I think they got fried in an electronic surge. I have tons of music on my hard-drive and hope hope hope that they will randomly both start working again, but am not so sure. In the meantime, we are all reduced to black and white. Michael Jackson said it doesn’t matter, but I think he wasn’t taking this situation into account.
Anyways, a story of last night. So it is really really complicated working with people who are this poor, and this is why: On new years, Isa asked me for an advance of money so he could have a party. I said no way, because he is really late with the two things I have payed him to make- 100 little animals, and 150 empty pendants. I gave him all the money at the beginning, and now it is taking forever. I told him the moment he is finished with the last job, I have more work for him, but I wont pay him for another advance. He told me he had no money in his pocket, and I said, then finish up the last job! Someone else apparently lent him money and he went out for new years. I didn’t do anything, and stayed home new years eve, because I felt like it was unfair for me to have a big party if they couldn’t.
Isa has been a bit sick for like five days. Last night he asked me for money again, and I said, Isa, I cant do that! I have lots of work for you, but you need to do it if I am going to pay you. But he actually is completely out of money- I have watched him for the last two days, and am convinced he isn’t lying. And if you are sick here for five days, you need to go to the doctor, and he cant. I didn’t have any choice but to give him money for the doctor. And I wanted to. But I was also very grumpy at his short sided-ness. Maybe poverty makes you live for the present financially, people here never save anything. I have put hundreds of dollars into their business, and somehow he doesn’t have 1 left. He had a big new years party and then couldn’t buy himself food the next day. I feel like the government bailing out a bank.
There is a part of me that understands it, because last July I lent 100 dollars to my friend Yanik to start a business, and it took him weeks instead of days to pay me back. I am extremely stubborn, and refused to return to the bank until he payed me back, after he was a week late. I just cant handle people thinking money comes from the trees in America, and I wanted him to know that he better pay me back. So I went two weeks with like four dollars. It was pretty intense, and I got hungry and bored and embarrassed and grumpy. When I found 2 US dollars in my bag and exchanged them for 900 CFA, I immediately bought a 600 CFA beer. Not a good idea, but I needed to somehow.
And I had created that situation. There was money with my name on it at the bank. The real version of this little story is how people live all the time here. Thus, Isa had a big new years party and cant buy himself medicine the next day. But I cant do normal business things or be consistent about paying people, because they have literally no backup plan, ever. The more I realize this the more intense that reality is.
I am not going to get a dog. This is my mantra and I am staying strong. I met this french nut in Timbuktu last spring who was trying to grow saffron in the Sahara and make his millions. I wanted a dog back then too, and he told me African dogs have wild hearts and can never live in civilization. At the time, I felt he was reciting some twisted doggy version of “Heart of Darkness,” but then again, the dogs here are out on their own all the time and none of them has ever sat for anybody. That is why I like them, as actually I like cats more, and the dogs here are like cats in that people just sort of provide for them. But I don’t want one. It its decided. And though the hormones in me that would otherwise fixate on babies are dog focused, I will use the same stubbornness I used when I didn’t go to the bank for two weeks.