It was one of those unexpectedly nearly perfect days in October (OTUNPDIO???). After lunch, and after a chat with the African Prairie Princess, I took a walk around the neighborhood to take in the sights, the fresh air, and the view of newly fallen leaves. There are lots of quite interesting happenings and Halloween decorations in the blocks around my house. One of the Halloween decorations had a skeleton and a bunch of faux graves - all in a row with familiar names on the stones. I should have taken a photo. One was Frank N. Stein - a usual and expected casualty of Halloween, but the stone at the far right read "Cookie Monster." That seems to be a bit out of line for even Halloween. It's too soon to be putting the Cookie Monster in that position. I think I protest.
The most interesting thing on today's walk was the seemingly sudden emergence of these little free libraries. It's a small box with books than can be borrowed at any time for free. I encountered three of them in my neighborhood and it seems to be the fruit of some kind of movement to fight illiteracy. It's an international movement, I hear, and there are over 3,000 of them in the USA. There is also a web site.
I walked a bit further and came across some folk art in the process of being born. Some people have a sense of humor, even when decorating their garage door. I love this neighborhood.
I tried to do some translating on the telephone with PP this afternoon, because her internet ran out of minutes and she couldn't figure out how to get more. She called from her research station in Amani Nature Reserve in Tanzania. Her access to the internet was denied. The instructions on how to order more internet minutes came to her in a text message from the phone company - Vodacom - in Swahili. "Google translate" seemed like a good option, and my computer was available. She read the words to me. She struggled with reading the text because her phone has a failing display which is blurring some of the words. Finally after some frustration and failures we got to this in what we thought was Swahili:
"salio lako lai toshi kuti surushi kufurushi"
I keyed it into Google translate. It was translated to:
"Your balance lai enough packaged coconut leaf surushi"
Which absolutely released a torrent of laughter from us both. (And don't call me "surushi!").
Here's a photo from about 1987-8 of the principals in the struggle with a foreign language and a foreign culture. And a balky foreign phone company.