There was this huge thunderstorm a couple of nights ago, with lightning and everything -- somehow that seemed weird for here. When I woke up the next morning, the house smelled like wet dust. Everything was still kind of dripping outside, but Ed ventured out onto the balcony. From there, he had an excellent view of our unpaved street, which, he was quick to inform us, was completely flooded. Well, maybe not completely. There was a little edge up against the houses that one could tiptoe along. And many did. Actually, the path to the nearest grocery is an exciting route through piles of garbage, scaffolding, assorted rubble, and brick stepping-stones through puddles.
My mom posted about the mint chocolate chocolate chip cookies, but I think you should all know that Mollie Katzen (the author of the recipe) claims they are "creative soul food" and that they helped her through the second half of the cookbook. I highly recommend replacing ordinary chocolate chips with chopped Swiss chocolate.
Also, tales of two teachers. We've been getting Arabic lessons from a woman who works at the Sudanese Cultural Center. She comes to our house to teach a lesson 5 times a week, and she came for 4 weeks. We just finished our course. Towards the end, it got to be pretty fun to banter with her in our broken Arabic. Her name is Awatif, which we found out means "emotions". This amuses me. She also translated the name of Ed's friend Basim for us: it means "smiley". Apparently sheep's head, a local delicacy, is also called Basim. "Sudanese people love to eat its mind," she told us, wrinkling her nose. The second teacher is a teaching assistant from the University of Juba, who's giving me and Ed violin lessons for two weeks. He's been coming at 7 PM and teaching until 9, but in the middle, when my lesson is over, and Ed's is about to start, he has to take a little break to pray. Pretty cool. He just takes off his shoes and sets up shop on the rug, facing Mecca. This reminds me of our first night in Egypt, in a Novotel near the airport, very Western, with TV and matching bedspreads and cheap paintings on the wall, BUT. The desk in every room had a sticker on it indicating which way you should face to pray.