Village entertainment these days, since it hasn’t rained in over two weeks and fields can’t be planted, is watching the three well workers finishing the second well. So far they’ve shoveled cement, made giant concrete tube pieces using huge metal molds, and then lowered those sections down into the well. That’s the part that always draws a crowd because it involves a motorized crane/pulley rig. Once they have the concrete rings cemented, they’ll start deepening the well with a hinged scooper that looks like the scary lantern fish from Finding Nemo. Also, the men have finished two sides of the wooden garden fence and the women are watering the pepiniere somewhat regularly—so I’m feeling pretty optimistic about seeing both a functioning well and a respectable garden enclosure before I leave.
Today I went with Kanni and Hawa to their bank to make their first deposit into the women’s group account—they now have almost sixty mille ($120) saved. They’re also trying a loan program within the group; women are allowed to borrow 2500 CFA ($5) of the group’s money on the condition that, at the end of two months, they pay it back plus 500 CFA interest. I’m very interested to see what they do with the money—a few of them have talked about buying seasoning or soap in Tamba to then resell in the village.
The hardest I’ve laughed in months: My household has constructed a chicken hut out of spare cinder blocks. Every evening they have to corral the family chickens and either convince them to walk into the hut on their own or else chase them down and stick them in it. Supposedly after the chickens get used to spending the night in there, they’ll go in of their own accord. They haven’t reached this stage yet. So another of the big daily events is watching the women and kids herding chickens. Yesterday, one chicken in particular was refusing to cooperate. Kanni finally chased it down, grabbed it, and then, as she was walking back towards the chicken hut, swung it by its feet in a big circle a few times, up over her head then down near her knees. Later that night, lying out in the compound waiting for dinner, I asked Kanni why she did that—thinking maybe it was some folk remedy for calming chickens. She started laughing and told me she did that because she was mad at the chicken. She said that if she hit it, it would die—so I guess she settled for inducing motion sickness. We were both laughing so hard that we could barely talk.