Four Stars

Wednesday, February 16, 5:20 PM wpe6.jpg (22724 bytes)

I took a leisurely walk into town. I bought some food. If I do that more often, I may get to know some of the market women better, some of the towns people better, some of the children better. Or not.  [Right:  going into town in Badou.   Open cement troughs on either side of the road for run off when it rains.   Palm trees in the market. Below:  in the Badou market.]








wpe19.jpg (43887 bytes)

Am I more content here? How can one answer a question like that? Why should one ask a question like that?

February 18, 8:00 PM or so

Why Not Take Her Home?


Why not take her home?

I can't live without her

Why not take her home?

I never thought to wonder


She's a part of me

And I, I'm a part of her

Why not take her home?

I never thought to wonder


She's so good to me

And when I see me I see her beside me

And when I see her I see me beside her

How could I take her home?

I never thought to wonder

Saturday, February 19, 8:00 AM

I felt yesterday for an instant that maybe I could fall in love with someone here. Some people take the idea that it is so easy here, or women are, and that may or may not be true. To drink when not thirsty? To eat when not hungry? I don't climb mountains just because they are there. I climb it if there is a reason. If I fall in love, then perhaps something will happen, but just to do something because it's easy? And is it easy?

4:00 PM

The second big rain of the season. It is raining so hard that I had to close my front doors.

Sunday, 2/20

Dear P,

Everything is fine here in Africa. It is still hot, everyone is still black, the rains are thinking about coming back. We had a good downpour yesterday. The brown vegetation will soon turn green. The mosquitoes will be back soon and I'll have to put up my mosquito net again (I've been sleeping without a mosquito net for months; Badou has been mosquito free).

I continue to learn Ewe. The teachers and students know that I'm trying to learn it and they help me out by speaking to me in Ewe, then translating the parts I don't understand.

What happens if I fall in love? I haven't really been in love since I knew J, which was years ago. I thought maybe I wouldn't really fall in love again ever but the other day I got a funny feeling like maybe I could fall in love again. Think of the complications! I'm not really thinking of the complications since it hasn't happened yet and also, what is the good in thinking of the complications? But a song is starting to form so who knows?

There is more on the tape, so have fun listening.



Monday, February 21, 7:15 PM

I had to take garlic again last night and this morning.

Tuesday, February 22, 8:25 AM

Yesterday was sharp and clear but today there is a little harmattan. Most of it left weeks ago.

"We met weeks ago. It's been lot's of fun..." Music has power. I know it. A singing woman melts me. I'm very content when I write a good song. Playing music heals me. I function on some other level.


She is taking my hands

Do I want to go where she is leading?

I don't know her stars, I don't know her sand

But that is all I can see


She is taking my eyes

I can only look where she is pointing

I'm out with the nectar but can't see the hive

I wonder what good that is doing


She is taking my heart

What are these dreams that I'm dreaming?

And the leaving will tear me apart

And I'll have new songs for the singing

Troisieme Composition, deuxieme trimestre

Sujet: Obeir vous semble souvent ennuyeux ou difficile, et sans doute aimeriez-vous pouvoir jouir d'une plus grande liberté. Reflechissez cependent aux consequences extremes qu'entrainerait peut l'homme on amour excessif de l'independance. Quelles conclusions pratiques pouvex-vous tirer de ces reflexions? (Illustrez d'exemples personnels votre raisonniment.)


Dear P,

Just got your latest letter.

I'm proctoring exams. These are second quarter finals so we'll soon be into the third quarter. Time flies.

Big news: I will be playing a Yamaha organ in the student's talent show during cultural week. I tried out for the band on Sunday and they said, "Ca peut aller." That means that I'm good enough. The organ is about 10 years old and works fine. The few songs we have practiced have been simple enough to pick up quickly. None have more than four chords. We played some French tunes, then some reggae and disco tunes. I'm using my tried and true style (um-pah, um-pah) and the other musicians are showing me some reggae styles. Ah, Peace Corps: the toughest job I'll ever love. The band consists of one lead guitarist, one rhythm guitarist (the science naturelle teacher at the Lyceé), one drummer (one of my students) and the organist (me). It's quite possible that the production will be mediocre since there is only a week left before the performance and we've only had one practice. There will be another practice tonight, I hope, and a few more before cultural week. There are no chord charts. All I can do is watch the guitarist and see where he puts his hands. They don't call chords A, E, B7, etc, but Do, Me, Sol, so I have to convert. Not too hard, but if you're in the middle of a tune and the guitarist shouts out "Re," what are you supposed to do? It should be fun, no matter what happens.

As for who does my laundry? K. Sometimes I'll wash out a few things but he does most of it. He carries water when it's needed, but our cistern is fixed now and soon the rains will fill it.

There is woman from whom I buy most of my bread. One day she called me "cheri" (dear). She always calls me over to her when the bread is fresh. A next time I called her "ma cherie" which got all the other bread women, the orange woman, banana woman, cigarette woman, etc in an uproar. "Ohhhh, 'ma cherie'...etc." Then the next time she wasn't there so I asked her friend, one of the other bread women, where "my wife" was (I asked her in Ewe!), and the woman casually said, "At home." And I thought little of it. But the next time I went "my wife" was all smiles and when I bought two 50 franc loaves of bread and started to walk away, she called me back and gave me a 25 franc loaf for free. She has made it clear that she is my only wife. One of the other women wanted to be my wife, too, but my wife said, "moi seule, n'est-ce pas?"

More on the way.



Thursday, February 24, 4:35 AM

For the first time in my life I saw the Southern Cross and Alpha Centauri. Just now. The three stars in the head of the Scorpion point to Alpha Centauri and Hadar. Then these two are pointers to the Cross. And Jupiter is in Scorpio, high in the sky.

Four Stars 

I'll always remember the day

When she touched me from the sky

Fortune and my own way

Have shown me how to fly


The Scorpion guides my way

To the closest star in the sky

Jupiter was by his side

He gave the Scorpion a second eye


The Scorpion guides my way

To the closest star in the sky in the sky in the sky

Fortune and my own way

Have shown me, shown me how to fly



Alpha Centauri above me has shown me

The Savior

Alpha Centauri above me has shown me

The Savior of the southern sky

And I've never seen her before


Long have I waited this day

To be touched by one so high

It must be true what the people say

That my head is up in the sky


She loves me as far as I can see

And I'll give her four stars

If she'll live with me, if she'll live with me


A song about seeing the Southern Cross for the first time.

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