Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I sleep outside, underneath a yellow mosquito net, on top of a foam mattress, on top of a bed made out of millet stalks, on top of clay bricks made from the bottom of a nearby seasonal lake. I wake up around 6 most mornings—I think it’s often a combination of the light and the morning sounds that start around that time (women pounding millet or talking at the well). Other, earlier morning sounds—the 5am prayer call, roosters, cows, goats, sheep, donkeys, etc.—wake me up too, but not as decisively as sunlight.
I usually spend about thirty minutes lying there, coming alive, reminding myself where I am, and thanking God/Allah/Goddess/Whoever Invented Water Filters for getting me through another night without sickness. Seriously, every morning that I wake up healthy, I feel extremely grateful. That is one thing—health—that is on my mind much more often than ever before. This is no place to be sick, not for anyone.

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