A lit shed overlooking the Cougar LakeI now reside at Cougar Village, a student accommodation area a short walking distance from the main campus of SIUe.

It is a beautiful and restful students village with many identical apartments. I share a room with an undergraduate of Pharmacy who is also from Illinois.

I got lost earlier today while trying to locate my apartment. It was made worse by the rain of which I had been warned earlier in the day at www.weather.com. I had gone out in the morning to attend the International Students Orientation Programme organised by the International Students Services for dozens of international students to the University. Myself and Reham from Egypt were the only Fulbright FLTA scholars there. We had met earlier at Providence so it was just a happy reunion. For some strange reason, her flight did not land at the same time as mine so I hadn’t seen her since I left Providence in my Cadillac.

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Later in the evening, my roommate Chris gave me a ride back to campus so that I could get connected to the internet. I missed the campus bus from campus, and I decided to walk back. That turned out to be a very liberating experience, and I also got to take some really nice photos of the campus, especially the beautiful Cougar Lake. On my way to campus, I saw a nice deer grazing on the grass. According to Chris, it was so tame that one could go and stroke its head. Impressive. While at Providence, I had chanced on a few squirrels playing without any worries around we humans. I give America one thing: it respects its animals. Back home, the first reflex is always to find a weapon anytime you spot game. It is a cardinal sin to let one escape when the cooking cauldron awaits agape. Africans thrive on the murder/hunting of game. It is a thrilling endeavour. Because it’s fun? Because we’re hungry? Because they’re pests?

Now I have sufficient explanation for the speed with which the squirrels on my old campus in Ibadan flee in the opposite direction whenever I open my palms and call them to come and eat some nuts: their parents and great grand parents must have told them of our kind. “When you see those guys, run as fast as you can, or else you’ll end up in the cooking pot!”. And they always often do. That is why the squirrel in Edwardsville has a higher life expectancy than one in Ibadan.

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