Monday, May 5, 2008

Idle time

Niger landscape

I remember being anxious about having excess “idle time” here—it was hard to imagine what exactly I would do all day, given my budding language skills and the time of year (it’s hot season, and there’s no rain yet, so there’s not much (any) planting going on…). But, on the contrary, I’ve found that there is plenty to do—both out and about with people in the village, and on my own in my concession. Of course, time does pass differently here, and there are afternoons that seem endless…but I am beginning to treasure this time. When else can I begin to understand everything that is happening around me/to me/within me? It is as if I could spend all day in the shade, drinking a theoretical raspberry lemonade, and solely watching the movements of the village, and still I would be exhausted by evening. Things are that different/stimulating/complex. Or perhaps complex isn’t the right word…it’s mostly just the different-ness. And of course, I don’t spend all day on my bum, so my mind and body are getting a pretty solid workout. I know you are curious about the day to day things –what do I eat? What do I wear? Who am I with? And I want to answer all of these questions (they are, after all, what makes up the differences), so I will start now…keep in mind, though, that I have only been in this village for a few weeks, and that my semi-routines are sure to change with the weather, with my language acquisition, and with my increasing sense of belonging here…

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