Friday, March 7, 2008

Can a Hen Eat Sticky Things?

Here are some classic Hausa proverbs:

1. Can a hen eat sticky things? (Yeah,think about THAT!)
2. Food and drink end up in the same place. (True.)
3. He who sells a dwarf knows the price of a short person. ( I love this one.)
4. Anybody who excretes in the shade has to leave it.
(p.s. I have 329 of these.)

Today was especially windy and dusty. I'm learning more about what to expect from the seasons: Nov-March is "cold season" and it does get chilly! It's also very dry and windy when the harmattan winds come down off the Sahara. March to November is "hot season" with the "rainy season" punctuating the months of July/August/September (depending on where you are.) The sun is intense, a very white light, and I am pleased to share that my sunglasses are perfect. I've been wearing them lately.
Bunches of thoughts to share: which are first?

  • I definitely have some awesome new friends whom you will love when you meet them. We practice Hausa together, take each other food and medicine when one is sick (so far that's been me...), and play cards at our huts a few nights a week. I hope that I am placed close to at least one of them; they will become increasingly precious as times get hard.
  • The diet is generally poor, very heavy on the starches, & devoid of fruits or veggies, at least this time of year ( which doesn't make sense: in the PC gardens there is lots growing.) I've already cracked into my food bank; the diced fruit and tuna hit the spot! I'll have to grow veggies.
  • Today I started my first ever tree nursery! We've been doing lots of tree ID. I think I have 15 or 20 species to learn this week. Can you believe that: in the desert? I also get to collect my own seeds and plant them. Today I planted 40 little seeds into plastic bags. I chose 7 or 8 kinds to test; my favorite is the baobab because its name is fun AND it has an edible, yummy, white fruit.
  • A note on plastic bags: they are the landscape of this country. Black bags, clear bags, white bags; they cover the ground everywhere, are caught on every imaginable twig, rock, edge, and surface, the roads, the trees, the bushes. It was the first thing I noticed here. People buy everything in these lightweight, flimsy, small plastic bags: a 1/4 cup of sugar on the corner, a couple pieces of garlic, etc. There is no garbage area, and everything gets tossed right next to you. I don't have any choice but to do it; there is simply no designated place for trash. It feels so wrong to's been ingrained in me to carry my recyclables to the curb...aaaaahhh! I'll get over it and you'll have to retrain me.
  • Dust is also everywhere. When I get home each day, all of the contents in my hut have a layer of dust on them. It makes it seem like I've been away for months when it's only been a day. The wind blows the dust in through the walls and roof. Most volunteers have perpetually runny noses.
  • I moved my bed inside, thinking I might get better sleep. So far it is working; it is marginally quieter. But I do miss the stars: they are magnificent.

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