Nothing much to report from me. Work is going well, having fun with friends but haven't done anything spectacular (though my birthday dinner was yummy and my birthday presents very nice), looking forward to spending the holidays with family. So instead, this update I will give you two stories from other people.
A Tuareg in Canada
I recently met a Nigerien (note: "Nigerien" means from Niger, "Nigerian" means from Nigeria. An important distinction should you meet someone from one or the other, as they are very different countries) Tuareg who has spent the last several years in Canada. For his first couple years he worked at a nature reserve filling a function somewhat similar to a forest ranger - just patrolling the park, making sure the people visiting and camping were accounted for, nothing illegal happening, that sort of stuff. His colleagues were a few Canadians and another African immigrant.
Well, a few weeks go by, and winter has fully struck. It's some number of degrees below zero, and someone is getting lazy. The manager calls all the rangers in and says, "Look, I know you're cold, but someone is crapping behind the office without going to the toilets and that's just not gonna work. Who is it?" He's looking kind of pointedly at my friend and the other African. My friend says, "Look, I know why you think it might be us, growing up without plumbing, but if you think after living my whole life in Niger I'm going to go outside and take off any one of the five layers I'm wearing in this insane weather and let my balls get within 20 inches of that snow, you're out of your damn mind." At that point, one of his Canadian colleagues 'fessed up.
An American in Burkina
This one could have happened to me, but it didn't. So, a PCV I know is walking along in his village when he spies a little girl selling ... something. He asks her what it is, and she says it's samsa, which is a fried bean dish that is very common here. He doesn't think it looks like samsa, but she insists that it is, and anyway he likes trying new and interesting foods, so he buys 50CFA worth (about 10 cents, which doesn't put it in perspective, so instead I'll say about the normal cost of one full meal in village). He's sure it's not samsa, but he's excited about trying a new food and brings it to his Burkinabé friend to find out what it is and how he should cook it. His friend laughs and tells him that he's just bought 50CFA worth of mud! The little girl had just been sitting by the road playing, pretending to be a food vendor, and when the weird white guy came around asking what she was selling, she told him. How was she supposed to know he'd actually buy some?! White people ARE crazy. Sure enough, that evening, her dad came by his house to give back the 50CFA and apologize.