Emotions like this can't be forgotten. I'm talking about the ones coming up from settings you didn't schedule. My mind is surfing back in time - no more than a few months ago. I'm at my desk, looking at a white file which should be filled with a report, and here-right-now I'm feeling like I was driving to Maasailand.
Elerai, the smallest corner in the World. Midday sun was burning roofs in the boma. Standing in the shadow of a hut, I was obsessively checking my mobile waiting for a delayed message. In a few minutes, the first monitoring round of the Yeyo! Maasai women at school project should have been started... evaluation, they say, it's the most boring step of field work.
Asking the same questions to several groups of people, taking note of too much similar answers, taking the risk of discovering that your efforts haven't hit the goal. We were three. Elena, facing a squad of wild children; Iole, wishing to switch-off goats using a flamethrower; and me, planning carefully how to use batteries, tapes and digital memories.
A cheerful clamor gave us the alert. Some of "our" yeyo began to come in and seated around the table. On their faces, a serious but curious look that we know well. Eda, our "facilitator for one day", settled down on a corn bag tidying up clothes over her bump.
This way, my first - austere - monitoring mission turned into a convivial chai with the girls! Woman-to-women is a nice talking and talking, it doesn't matter if a continent of gaps stays in the middle. Between the lines of a clearly planned answer, a minute of gossip and an acknowledgement about your fine taste in piling up bracelets... a careful observer can easily read the uncountable truth.
Words are not enough to tell about the long conversation between the yeyo and us, so much that I ask myself how it will be possible to give the meaning while editing official reports. I just can put down in black and white some delicious cookies selected from our questions. And, most of all, from their answers.
What about the school? Are you happy to be a student? Of course! Well, sometimes it's a bit difficult... however, I'm coming through. Can I show you my exercise book?
Are you learning useful things for your everyday life? I wrote my name on my stuff. Excluding this, I can't take much advantage from reading and writing until I'm too busy with house work. Instead, if I manage to start-up a small business in the future - such as a shop or a guest-house... I couldn't be able at all, if I didn't learn writing before.
Will you go on studying, next year? Yes, because I have still a lot of things to learn... may I give you an advice to improve our school?
What did it change in the way other people treat you, since you became a student? A lot! Now my relatives pay more attention to what I say and ask. And I tell you something more. Finally I can discuss decisions with my husband, and I'm no more afraid of him...
That's true. A continent of gaps stays between you and us. But. Now we know how to pile up bracelets showing grace and confidence. And you, you won in a few months a challenge that we gained in centuries of hard work.