Some people start their mornings with coffee

emilybecker01:

I woke up this morning at the normal time to which I allow myself to sleep when I don’t have to teach in the morning, around 8 a.m.

By this time, all the students are already at school, which means, for a few moments, my neighborhood is relatively quiet.

This morning, though, as I was in my kitchen heating up water for tea, I heard people outside my neighbor’s house. She’s a nice lady and makes her living usually by being a tailor. In the past few months, she’s also started selling the local moonshine out of her house. For 100 CFA, men come by, take a shot of sodabe and then ride off on their motorcycles, rarely staying more than 5 minutes. One of my favorite nighttime activities is to sit on my front porch and watch how many of the men who stop by I recognize, either as colleagues or the father of one of my students.

When I came back from vacation three days ago, a small hut with benches and tables had been erected outside her house, I guessed in an effort to expand her business, at least expand it out of her living room. And business has expanded, the area outside my front door becoming less like a front porch and more like the street outside a bar, but besides moto horns and loud voices, there haven’t been any real complaints.

And so, this morning, as I sipped my Harney & Son’s Tower of London tea, I silently toasted the men taking shots of sodabe next door at 8:30 in the morning.