I know . . . I know . . . I know what you're thinking: 'Deb. we understand that you live in the middle of nowhere, but where the heck have you been??' Well, I've been a bit busy, I guess.
Over the past few weeks, B. and I have been working on memorizing the bones of the foot and the muscles of the lower leg. He's been getting good at identifying the landmarks and parts on paper. But unfortunately for B., the foot and lower leg of a real-live person are covered with skin . . . which makes finding important places a bit more of a challenge.
So far, this apprenticeship has already been a bit of a learning shock for B. He's used to a system that is driven by repetition and rote memory. Hands-on learning wasn't part of his curriculum.
And especially not hands-on-his-teacher learning!
While he had one last chance to review his notes, I wrote out the names (in French) of 40 something muscles, tendons, and boney prominences on tiny bits of tape.
B.'s assignment: correctly label my legs.
After a few awkward moments, he got a few right and a few wrong. We had many passers-by . . . mostly old Nigerien women who expressed concern for the health of this likita sitting on a treatment table getting her exposed-from-the-knee-down legs taped.
B. finished all the ones he knew . . . and some he didn't, but eventually figured out.
At the end, three were left: the patella, the popliteus, and the Achilles tendon.
As I showed him where each was, B. asked me 'Why is called the Achilles tendon?'
'You know, it's from the story of Achilles.'
'From Greek mythology.'
This time he blinked at me.
'Um . . . okay . . . well, Achilles was the son of the highest Ancient Greek god. And he was really strong, but he was mortal . . . so the god grabbed him by the ankle and dipped him in a river, and every where the water touched protected him from being killed . . . but one day he was in a battle and an archer launched an arrow--'
'AND IT HIT HIM IN THE ANKLE! RIGHT WHERE HE WAS DIPPED!'
Let's just say, in that moment, he made me really proud.