Friday, July 22, 2011

The Importance of Saying 'Good Afternoon'

Hi all, hope everything is good. Life is good here, searching for projects and other work. I have poured urine on my compost pile, so we'll see how that goes, hopefully it gets a good nitrogen boost. So, I've gotten a request to tell more stories. Gladly. This one comes from about 3 months or so back.

It all began as a fairly normal day, I think it was a Sunday and I was coming back from the capital city, Praia, after a music festival that was on Saturday. The festival was so-so, but it was an alright night. Nothing eventful happened that night. So, Sunday, Scott, a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer, and myself get on a hiace (van) to my town of Pedra Badejo. The ride was normal, rotxadu (packed), so 20 people in a van that should go about 15 deep. Anyways, Scott put his headphones on and nodded off, while I was stuck between him and another capeverdean in the far backseat of the hiace, hot and uncomfortable. We get out of the capital just fine and off the newly paved road onto a cobble stone road that has plenty of bumps on it. This road takes us all the way to my city, Pedra Badejo, but people get off frequently at various villages or houses on the way. At one of these fairly common stop points, for a town called Porto Madeira, one of the ladies asks the ajudante (helper), the guy who opens and closes the door and trys to recruit people to get on the car, steps out to fazi mandadu (run an errand) for one the ladies in the van. This time he was sent to get some cookies (more like nilla wafers but dryer) at the local store. Normal enough, this is a common occurrence. But this time there is some noise, which causes most of the passengers to look back. Me and Scott are late looking back because we're both tired and groggy from the previous long night. So, we turn to look and our ajudante is running into this empty cornfield, being chased by one of locals who had been drinking at the store (Especially in the rural areas all the stores will sell grogue, the local spirit, as well as some basic food items). So, now there's a standoff, a sort of drunken slow one at that. At this point, our ajudante picks up a big rock, like the size of 16 inch softball, which I thought would be used only to intimidate the guy and make him stand down. I had seen this before many of times and no one had thrown the rock before. I was wrong this time. Our ajudante threw the rock, sort of like a lazy line drive, it didn't have too much mustard behind it but it wasn't lobbed either. And it connected. Square on the drunken townie's forehead. This causes him to fall to his knees. Now, everyone in our car is screaming for the driver to go because they don't want the car to get assaulted by rocks from the other spectators who were at the bar, but the driver wasn't even in the car. He was talking to someone outside. So, he runs to the car, hops in the front seat and starts the car, bringing it to a crawl. Meanwhile, the ajudante starts to scramble back to the car and the other guy, after he gets back to his feet, realizes that his forehead is cracked open. Obviously, he needs to do something about this, so he decides to use his shirt as a sort of rocky-like bandage over his forehead. Once this is done, he slowly approaches the car (we're still moving at a snail's pace, I still don't know why). Then he makes his way to the driver's window. By now, the driver had to put his out the window ready for whatever. But the dude just looks him down and doesn't say word. Here is when the driver steps on it, and we make our way towards Renque Purga, the next town over with many people telling the hiace driver not to stop for fear of the group catching up to us. Admist this, the ajudante is explaining his case, over and over, that he just went into the store to buy cookies and the next thing a group had cornered him, asking him 'why he hadn't said mantenha (saludation, good afternoon)' to which he justified that he wasbusy and just going to buy cookies and there wasn't any need to say 'good afternoon'. After hearing that story repeatedly and then going on and on about whether you have to say 'good afternoon' or not, we arrived at my city safe and sound. And now, I think I say good afternoon a little more than before. Peace.

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