Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Driving Miss Daisy....

I’ve been here for about 10 months now, and in that time I’ve realized that in many ways, I’m an anomaly. First of all, I’m almost 30 and am not married and have no kids. That’s by far the biggest thing that sets me apart. There is also the fact that I’ve been told I’m “very loud and frisky.” Different. Another thing that I frequently get comments on is the fact that I whistle. I got comments on my whistling from my patients in America but here it’s an even bigger deal because only men here are supposed to whistle. Last week one of my friends told me he should beat me for my whistling because girls just don’t do that….it’s only for the men. Of course the rebellious part of me snapped my fingers and said (to myself) “Oh no you diiiidn’t just say that to me! I’ll whistle….and you’ll like it!” But after talking to a bunch of people I’ve come to understand that when a girl whistles, it means that she “has no training.” It’s rude. So to my chagrin, I’ve decided to try and cut out my whistling. Eeee noh easi o!

Another thing that makes me a bit of an oddity is the fact that I drive. I drive all over the country and people are always commenting about it. A couple months ago I had one of the nurses at the hospital ask me to teach her to drive. The next week I had another woman ask me. Then another. Ha! Well, I may have to give up my whistling, but teaching these women to drive will be a good substitute for my “girl power” that I’m giving up by my whistle cessation.

So last week we had our driving lesson. It ended up being two girls and the father of one of the girls. (When he found out I was going to teach his daughter to drive he begged me to teach him too.) All the roads in our town are dirt, so I was just going to teach them on one of the roads, but they suggested we go to an empty field. Boy am I glad I took their suggestion!

I underestimated how bad they were going to be. Since the lesson I’ve tried to remember learning to drive myself. Since I grew up on a mini-farm, I learned when I was pretty young. The day I got my learners permit I drove home from the DMV (which included some freeway time). I’m sure there was a learning curve but in my own hindsight, I of course, was perfect.

These new drivers….were not perfect. “Joseph” was first up. He has a motorcycle so he was definitely the best. After he the circles around the field, “Aminata” was up. Joseph got out of the car and refused to stay in while she was driving. He was too scared. Ha! Around and around we went. Although it was a big field, while we were there a soccer game started so we had to keep our circles pretty tight. There was a big cement block of some kind in the middle of our circle. Of course, for some reason there seemed to be a magnet that drew us to the cement block.
Joseph, standing on the infamous cement block, giving lots of advice, but refusing to ride with us :)
While Aminata was driving, we started heading straight towards the cement block. I didn’t really say anything, assuming she’d correct. You know what they say about assuming. As we got closer and closer I said “ok, slow down, turn to the right….” I’m pretty sure she meant to hit the brake but slammed on the gas. And we ran straight into the cement block. She was horrified. I started cracking up. Aminata, concentrating so hard.....right before we ran into the cement
If my car (Boris) was really nice, I probably would have been a little bummed, but one glance at the front of my car and I knew no one would even notice. I’m thanking God that no internal damage was done, but also thanking God for the great memory and the dirt that I can now hold over her head for years to come!! The good news is that by the end of the lesson, they were all doing much better and were becoming more confident. I’m sure (ok…maybe 70% sure) that our next lesson will not include any accidents!

On another note, today is November 1, which means that I’ll be home THIS MONTH!! Woo hoo!!

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