This article accurately describes one aspect of life here in West Africa.



George is three, and is proud of his new responsibility in the Pidassa household. Every evening at sunset, it’s his job, without ever being told, to catch six chickens and put them in the chicken coop. It’s easier for him to do it than anyone else because he’s closer to the ground. It’s great fun racing round the courtyard until all of them are caught. When jobs like that need doing, who needs toys?

Green wood hoopoe

A clear but all too brief sighting of a green wood hoopoe today.

Wikipedia 1000 articles
Celebrations! Today we’ve reached the target we set almost exactly three years ago. The Kabiye Wikipedia now has over 1000 articles in it. Recent additions include Stephen Spielberg, Tornado, Proton, Brain, Neptune, Gupta dynasty. Kabiye Wikipedia has also recently been approved for transfer from the Incubator to the real Wikipedia platform, but please would we translate 100 more interface messages first…

Want to wake up REALLY fast at 5.30 am? Try a scorpion sting. I guess I always knew it would happen eventually. It’s scorpion season here, the first rains send them scurrying indoors. We’ve killed ten in a week, but number 8 got me first. That puts paid to all my plans for today.

Just took the Wikipediholism test and scored 277 which I thought was quite modest given that the top score is 5000. But apparently it means I’m “a Pro”, which is one step further on from being “an Addict”, which is weird.

Omniglot is a treasure trove. It’s an encyclopedia of writing systems and languages. You can use it to learn about languages, to learn alphabets and other writing systems, and to learn phrases in many languages. There is also advice on how to learn languages.

… you have to turn plugs on before they’ll work.

On my return to Togo yesterday I learned that a severely mentally handicapped beggar, about 17, was burned alive in Kara a few weeks ago by unknown assailants for unknown motives.

I’ve known him since he was about eight years old. He used to flag my car down in the market. If I didn’t stop, I’d catch him in my rear view mirror, flinging himself onto the ground and beating his head on the tarmac in frustration. I soon got the message, and would usually pull over to give him 100 cfa (13p).

And that’s how we got to know each other. He couldn’t speak, so I never learned his name. But he could grunt, smile and make everyone laugh.
Paix à son âme.

End of week 12, and we’re done at last. It’s been a long haul. Traveled down to Abidjan yesterday, and am lying low today in decompression mode.