their stoops, washing clothes, or filling water buckets at the village spigot across the path from Delva’s office. I wanted to be ready to go when the students, who were due to be up at 5:00, arose, so there I stood at the spigot, washing myself and sharing my soap with the early-rising Thomondois.
The flatbed truck that Delva had arranged to take us to Pignon arrived precisely at 5:00, along with the four people with hernias and the mother, the infant, and an almost-empty bottle of rehydration solution. The child was so much better—alert, aware, squirming in his mother’s arms, that I almost considered not taking them to Pignon. On the other hand, a couple of days of observation to make sure the child didn’t relapse wouldn’t hurt. His mother had dressed him up in a small suit and booties. The students trickled out of their rooms, threw their gear in the truck, and climbed aboard. Mother and child were sitting on the spare tire, along with Tom, who wanted to be close to his “save.” The other students stood, holding on to the side bars and crossbars of the truck as we jerked into gear and headed up the road. I waved to my bathing mates at the spigot as we left. “Abyento!” Jerome’s song from the night before kept running through my head. It stayed with me all the way to Pignon.