Village men who work abroad (in Spain) currently visiting the village: 1
Goats killed in his honor: 5
Typical meals per day during the rainy season: 4
Number of those meals that consist solely of milk and couscous: 2
Kilos of rice for one meal for the household and for the household + guests, respectively: 4, 6
Calls made to my cellphone by relatives in Spain because the family cellphone was broken: 5
Orphaned chicks successfully fending for themselves in our compound: 6
Pages read in War and Peace, out of a total 1,452: 726
Alahji, the visiting brother, arrived in a taxi and since then has been showering the family—and his two wives in particular—with gifts. At first I thought he was the one buying a goat a day to eat, but those were actually bought in his honor by his mom, his two wives, a sister, and a nephew.
I hear raw milk is currently a big yuppie fad. If I get over a quart of the stuff a day, straight from the cow, does that make me more cutting edge than the urbanites who have to covertly buy their raw milk in a back alley behind the farmers’ market? Does it at least make me cooler than thou?
War and Peace: highly recommended.
I think almost all PCVs end up with a Caught In The Rain While Biking story—I remember at least one from the book of essays handed out by Peace Corps recruiters, and occasionally volunteers come stumbling into the regional houses looking like umbrella-less undergraduates after a midday thunderstorm. It’s kind of inevitable during the rainy season when you’re traveling down a dirt road and there are no convenience stores to dash into or awnings to huddle under.
Wednesday I was riding from my village to Tamba in the afternoon as a wall of dark blue-black clouds approached from the east. Everyone I passed cheerfully warned me that rain was coming, and I cheerfully replied that that’s why I was hurrying. I was hauling ass past the airport fence (about 3/4 of the way there), throwing glances back at the looming clouds of doom, when the first gusts of wind caught me. They were strong and cold and thankfully at my back, but soon enough the rain started, which was a problem since I was carrying my journal, phone, camera, iPod, and only one plastic bag, buried somewhere in my backpack.
I made it to the edge of Tamba and ducked into the first hut I came to, one of the empty, unfinished buildings along the outskirts of town. It had mudbrick walls, a dirt floor, and—most importantly—a door and window that faced away from the wind and a brand new roof. I sat in the doorway listening to my iPod and watching the rain blow past, then had a brief one-person dance party, and then watched two earthworms squiggle purposefully past the door while I waited for the rain to slow.
After an hour it finally did, and I braved the roads-turned-rivers to make it back to the house and Josh’s BBQ beef.
(Photos from Ile de Goree are up, as are various videos from Month 9. You’ll need Quicktime 7 to view them—sorry, but the new H.264 compression is just too good not to use.)