Food. It is food that brings the service to a screeching halt. What sounds like two people arguing quickly escalates, prompting me to leave the ridiculously difficult puzzle I found in the guest house to peek through the wooden blinds in order to see what is causing the ruckus. People are yelling at each other on the far end of the sitting area, shaking fists and pointing at each other. A group moves across the courtyard, pointing at man and yelling at him, backing him all the way to the side wall. He rallies and yells back, shouting loudly.

I don’t understand Sango, but I have a feeling I know what is going on as I watch the caterer hurriedly packing his wares into the back of a pick up truck. He does this behind the backs of the mob which has formed, working fast and quietly. When the group turns around, he looks elsewhere, forcing them to follow his gaze and not look at the truck. I stand in our dining room, laughing out loud at this fiasco and I hear a sound I haven’t heard in days…Mandaba laughing. He quietly and painfully says, “they are destroying this service for food. Seriously?” and giggles some more before lapsing back into silence and thought.

With the truck packed and the caterer gone, my focus shifts to another window, where I hear another commotion. This time, it is the dancers arguing, as they didn’t get paid what they were owed. Another pickup truck, carrying all the tarp and wood from the now-disassembled enclosures slowly makes its way down the street, skirting moving people. On top of the huge pile, a lonely man holds on tight to one of the ginormous photos of the lady who was memorialized today. The wind catches the photo and for a moment it seems like he is going to go flying off the moving truck. Screams all around are heard and a group of men help him leave the photo behind, leaning against a house. The photo sits there all night, through a rain storm and the setting and rising of the sun.

There is a woman collecting plastic bottles, weaving a cloth through the necks to form a flower-like shape, making it easier to cart hundreds of them home for resale. The baby tied to her back sleeps as the woman bends and stands over and over again, never waking or fussing. Watching that baby makes me smile, thinking of how nice it must be to be able to sleep through movement and sound. I thought I was good at that until this party showed me that even I have my limits of what I can sleep through.

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