you know how sometimes you play little games in your head? to keep yourself in a good mindset, and keep your sense of humor about things? it's one of the best things you can do here, especially when you find yourself in what could be a high-stress situation, like a meeting that-suprise-is completely in mandinka (or worse, a language you don't even know any of) or a workshop that was supposed to be over 2 hours ago but you are on item 2 of the agenda and the entire room is arguing over really nothing.
and that's when you have to sit back and watch.
i'm going to make a confession here. i love watching people here yell at each other. not all the time, of course (i almost never like seeing the kids get yelled at, or spousal disputes) but outside of the domestic arguments a good-old fashioned shouting match is a good time here. the best part is this little sound that almost everyone makes at the end of their rant. they say "eh" but it's really high-pitched and almost always makes me giggle. so when a whole room erupts in rants, raves, and "ehs" i generally have to bite my tounge with each new wave of giggles.
but i also attempt to keep a mental tally of how many times they say key buzzwords. it's almost like mental bingo. and the three best words, hands downn, in my line of work to play this tallying game with are community, sensitize, and trees. when you hear one you can just count down from ten and by the time you reach three somebody will have said one or both. it's fantastic if you're in the right mood. if you're not, you should probably drink some water and lie on the floor of your house until you're in a better mood. i recently started lying on the floor of my house on a fairly regular basis because it's without a doubt the coolest place to lie in the heat and i don't have a lot of other options because if it's hot enough to lie on my floor, it's too hot to do anything else. people further upcountry have been dealing with this level of heat and worse for months now. everyday i feel the ocean breeze and again thank my lucky stars i got a beach site.
and today i was doing the progress reports for our schools in the tree nursery competition. my co-regional coordinator and i decided it would be nice to give the schools feedback on what we saw when we visited their nurseries and ways they can improve...so i typed out those 3 words a whole lot today. and you know what? i felt really culturally integrated when i did it. and i think at my next meeting, i'm gonna see how many times i CAN work my keywords into the conversation. because they do encompass an important issue, not just here, but globally. and i want to see if i can double my numbers. :)