Figs and all

We have offices in the main building that are AC-ed but those of us in the outhouses, probably at one time houses of guards and household staff, can’t have AC because the electrical circuit in our part of the compound cannot accommodate the high loads of an AC. In the winter this means fumes from the diesel heaters and in the summer it can be insufferably hot, as today. Only the spring and fall are pleasant. On the other hand the view of the garden, flowers, fruit trees, grape arbors is wonderful.

While I was slowly suffocating in my small office with its three concrete walls and open door, a fan whirring papers around, I watched our aging gardener dig up the part of the volleyball field where the grass has disappeared. It was very hard labor for such an old man in such heat but he kept on digging with his helper, both with jackets on – as incomprehensible as Africans walking around with woolen caps in 40 degree heat. It shows our different tolerances for discomfort and is evidence of the amazing ability of human beings to adapt themselves to discomfort.

I had my first fresh fig, plucked from one of the four or five fig trees we have in the compound. One has to be quick picking the fruits from our many trees – I really is a case of the early bird gets the worm – I do tend to get in earlier than most others and I scan the tree for dark blue spots between the foliage.

Today by 2 PM I was totally wiped out, the combined effects of heat and a sleepless night. And so I went off with everyone else at the official end of the workday, much earlier than I usually go home. Last fall ACs were installed in our house and I am taking advantage of that now even though I feel slightly guilty about the luxury. Our guards who live in the back have a fan just like in my office and like we did last year in our house.

A colleague called from Washington trying to unravel the mystery of an email she sent to three people that got sent around the world with ever more people copied, all triggered by a quote from my blog. Although I was never copied (and she didn’t either) eventually it made its way to me – amazing. It is a reminder that if one sends an email one should always assume it will escape, tail and all.

Steve left for dinner in another guesthouse, taking the protein dishes and dessert the cook had prepared for him along as I had already dined on greens and fruit. And now I am wondering do I really want to watch Pat Buchanan tell his life story on AlJazeera to what’s his face, Riz Khan?

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