Saturday, November 1, 2008

African sunsets

This was a long and tiring week. I have had a bad cold all week, and sniffled, sneezed, and coughed my way through the national training that I was leading. The training went well, but I was wrecked, with a throbbing head, on most evenings when I finally made it home.

On Thursday, as I drove back to Lilongwe, it sprinkled a bit, and there was that wonderful first rain smell. It's impossible to describe. It smells a bit like concentrated dust, but there's a freshness behind it as well. It's all the smoke and dust and grime just being washed from the sky. All I can say about the moment the rains finally arrive in Africa is that it is magical, even if you have been here your whole life.

The other thing that never gets old for me is the sunsets. I looked out the car window Thursday and saw the most luminescent, fiery, orange sun you've ever seen, hovering over the acacia trees and maize fields, glowing through the mist of the rain. The sunsets here are a total Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen cliche, and I love them. They make me feel I should be sitting in front of a big canvas safari tent, looking out over the savanna while sipping a G&T. They remind me of the wonder I felt when I first arrived in Africa - in Zimbabwe in 2001 - and rode along roads lined with women carrying baskets on their heads and babies on their backs. Even though I am so often tired now, and disheartened, there are times when I fall in love all over again with Africa. Watching that sunset was one of them.

As for the family, we are still sick but doing a bit better. Despite spending all that money on a halloween costume for Milo, we did nothing yesterday to celebrate. There was a party a the U.S. embassy yesterday, but Jorge thought you needed to have an invitation to attend. When we found out that anyone was welcome, Milo was already fast asleep.

Milo is growing so fast. He rocks back and forth on his hands and knees now, as if at any moment he's waiting for the starting whistle so he can take off crawling. He eats all types of mushy, soft pureed foods, which look disgusting to me. And just this last week he has had two teeth poke through. Poor me, driver's ed is just around the corner....