Friday, June 13, 2008


yesterday i went to an ngente (i feel like my service here consists primarily of going to ngentes and celebrating the birth and naming of babies) in bagana, the village fatou grew up in. i didn't really want to go as i am sick and tired of these things -- but she invited me and i didn't want to decline her eager invitation. because all the men were out in the fields planting this year's crops, there weren't any charettes (horse carts) to bring us, so we walked there. it took us a bit more than an hour, which wasn't all together too bad, i just wish i hadn't been in my complet (senegalese clothing) or that it was so freakin' humid and the sun was so strong.

the ngente was a humble one and uneventful but i'm glad that i went because people were happy to see me/have me there and fatou was pleased. i ate a lot of rice, i napped (like a true senegalese), i walked around and greeted. i was too afraid to ask for a pee situation because i didn't see a single douche in the village, which would subsequently make me have to pee in the bush and i didn't really know the polite way to ask (i know how to say "i have to pee" but i don't know how to ask "may i go to the bathroom?"), so i held it all day. it was quite the relief to finally get home and pee in my douche.

i began to lose patience by the end of the day though because they kept saying that we were going home but we wouldn't and i was getting tired of listening to gossip and the women were getting loud and shrill and all i could think about was peeing. of course i was made to dance and i felt like a fool but i did -- not once, but TWICE -- and everybody looooved it. the things i am willing to do these days just to be liked.

and then, as if a reward for my good humor and behavior, somebody gave me a chicken! she's a hen and she's still in between being a chick and a full grown chicken but she's nice and brown and cute -- if chickens can be cute. she's also quite the fighter -- after we tied her feet together (to get her ready for being taken away), she managed to get up on both legs , hop over the door stoop, and make it down quite a ways before she was caught and replaced into the hut. i named her gerte, which means "peanut" in wolof. she's currently being quarantined at a neighbor's house because all of our chickens have been dying of some kind of chicken blight that has been killing more chickens than just pedro.

(interesting side note: in attempt to save ourselves from wasted chicken meat, we've been killing and eating our chickens as soon as they show some sign of sickness...which is essentially kind of worrisome and weird but i have to do it because all there is is chicken and rice so when i eat only the rice they are like, why aren't you eating the chicken?! and i can't admit to them my fear. my, how i've changed.)

anyway, gerte comes at an opportune time because next week i am building a chicken coop to try to start a chicken project. it's not a full blown chicken project but i am just testing it out with my own chicken. she's probably not big enough to lay any eggs yet so i will have to buy her a friend who is capable of eggs. maybe i'll name her niebe, which means "bean" in wolof.

i still think it's funny that growing up i would talk about moving to the big city and be cosmopolitan and glamorous and fashionable and all those big awesome things you do in the glittering city and now i am living in a hut in the bush talking about attempting to raise chickens...

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