Friday, May 4, 2012

Topsy Turvy Week (4.27-5.3)

- Very, Very Bad: see previous post. Ughhhhhhhhh.

- Adorable: A month ago my student/friend/laundry girl Gerardine came over to wash my things and I gave her a few of the pancakes I was making. Apparently, she liked them, because we were joking last week and I told her that the reason I couldn't make them was because I didn't have an egg. She got really serious and said, "So...if I bring you an egg, you can make them for me?"

Monday, she shows up at my house with a little plastic bag and a hopeful look on her face. It was an egg.

I made her a full batch of pancakes, which she then put in a bag and hid from everyone so she wouldn't have to share. I keep smiling to myself... How cute is that?

- Best Conversation of the Month: I went to school early Monday, and I ended up sitting at a table with two members of our school's administration. Both can be intimidating, both love to argue, and both had a lot of thoughts about relationships between men and women.
It was a long, complicated conversation, lots of arguments: they kept giggling about how I think a man and woman are equal and should help each other out at the house (the fact that my husband cooks for me was worthy of a laugh-induced stomach cramp from the assistant vice principal), and I kept arguing with actual logic that they treat women like they have no desires and are less worthy of respect than men, etc.
We then talked about sex, really frankly, open and closed relationships that are respectful and honest, and eventually the difference between love and desire. Somehow that fed into the Bible's declaration of men as superior to women ("But who wrote the Bible, men or women?")...and then I kicked some ass with my trivia-based knowledge of strange Bible verses (thanks, vacation Bible school!) Ultimately, I looked up and realized that I was arguing, in French, with eight adult Beninese men, and at least on a logic-based level...winning?
Nothing really changed in their lives, except for maybe them getting their wives/girlfriends/both to be more vocal in bed. (See? No shame.) They said at the end that what I said was mind-blowing and made perfect sense, was right, but that in practice, it wouldn't be happening. Still, I'm pretty happy, and not only because French came out of my mouth for 2 hours straight and I didn't come out of it seeming like a mentally handicapped four-year-old.
Even if nothing in their lives changes, the ideas are now there, explained and argued and proven reasonable. Eventually, those ideas might influence one little thing in one of their lives, one little consideration for their wives or a teensy bit of respect for a hardworking daughter, and that counts for something, right?

- Spoke Too Soon. I have heat rash again. Ah, the joys of the tropics.

- Peace Corps Prom! This weekend is GAD, our annual almost-all-volunteer get-together, wherein we try to raise funds for one if the organizations that helps us with lots of our gender/development-related projects (they paid for my world map supplies, for example). Anyway. Point is, we're all together, which almost never happens, and we actually try to look nice. GAD is the one night a year when we all pull out our makeup, get pretty American-style dresses made, and scrounge around trying to find heels and a travel hair dryer. It's an adventure, as is everything here, and it's really, really nice to remember that we can still look and feel America-pretty, even if it's only one weekend a year. Pictures soon!

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