I’m feeling a bit Disney here today, although I’ve never been overly fond of their goofy, dorky, bumbling dwarves.

It all started at 3 a.m., when Donn called to let me know he was 15 minutes out and could I possibly start a pot a coffee?

He called me again 5 minutes later, knowing that I had lain down and gone right back to sleep.

By 3:15, they had arrived. I heard the screech of the brakes as the truck pulled up outside our garage. Yawning desperately, I stumbled down the stairs. The drivers were adamant that they be permitted to leave again immediately, so we had no choice; we had to get our stuff out.

The next 2 hours were a blur of carrying boxes up and down stairs, taking mugs of sweet, milky coffee out to the two drivers and our local street guardian, who came to help, staggering under heavy loads, getting more and more tired. We were finished 2 hours later, and no one on our residential street had shouted as us. I doubt Ismail and his family really slept through it, but they were very gracious this morning and claimed they did.

Donn and I finally went to bed about 6 and got up at 10, so we haven’t been our sparkly best throughout the day. We have made progress though. The house has resounded with cries of, “Oh look!” “Here’s the (fill in blank)!!” “Yaay!” etc. It’s still an absolute wreck.

Suddenly our house isn’t so echo-y.  What it is, is dusty. Donn seems to have brought a lot of Mauritania with him. Boxes left in a garage anywhere for 2 years will be dusty, but Nouakchott has its own special kind of dust. The motto could be: Dust Is Us. Mauritanian dust permeates even the smallest crevice and crack, where it grows, it shawls, it expands. It is sand of the desert beaten to a fine powder by the incessant winds. You are thinking of crevices in a house, and it’s true that they fill up with this sand, but I am talking about even smaller crevices—those in the fabric of your suitcase, for example, or between the pages of your books. The fact that these things were transported on an open truck through the desert only added to it. We stored our rugs, and one came unrolled on the floor of our bedroom here. We spread it out and rolled it back up, and then I swept up a small sand-dune from the tile floor.

But don’t think I’m complaining. I’m Happy. It’s been a fun day. I love opening a box labelled “books” and seeing the faces of familiar loved volumes staring up back at me. I’m excited to have my favorite coffee cups again. And, finally, Ilsa will stop complaining that she has nothing to read. She might have already read the books in the 3 or 4 boxes bound for her room (once we find the hardware to put up her bookshelves), but at least she hasn’t read them in 2 years, and she’s ecstatic. Familiar pictures are leaning up against the walls, we’ve put together the hand-carved Senegalese chairs, and we’ve hooked up the stereo. Life’s good.

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