Wednesday, October 15, 2008

vermin everywhere

it might be the 14th. or the 13th. i've lost track of the exact day. there's a tendency for that to happen in the village. chris has been here for the past few days in the village and today was a long and crazy day, which i found kind of amusing because i've just been complaining about how everything is predictable and the same.

after getting up and eating breakfast, we went down to the valley to visit my struggling garden. the squash and watermelon are doing fine but for some reason my eggplant, carrots, and chinese turnip refuse to sprout even though i've reseeded three times already. chris dug a compost pit for me, after our first failed attempt in which we enthusiastically dug where fatou's plot once was. once upon a time, i had given her carrot seeds and she planted them but then abandoned the plot and let it grow over with weeds because she thought they weren't sprouting. anyway, midway through our digging i discovered carrots growing there so we stopped, but not after destroying a good amount of seedlings. i made a lame attempt to save them but they'll probably died. i pulled water from the valley (and probably got schisto) and watered my beds. after we filled the compost pit with all the weeds from my Ramadan work, i decided to reseed once more with crossed fingers. we then harvested some tomatoes to bring home to aram and fatou and headed back to the compound.

we got back, took showers, and hung around. during my shower, chris spied a mouse and i was horrified and angry. last night i had spotted one and he brought jammo (the cat) into the room and she instantly killed it. i had hoped that that was the end of my mouse troubles as i hate those damn things and am absolutely disgusted at the idea of cohabiting with them. we decided that after lunch we would hunt around under the bed for the suspected hiding spot...and then promptly fell asleep for a nap.

lunch came and it was mediocre (and the same thing we've had for the past two days) and we were left pretty hungry. for some reason we fell asleep again afterwards but i was then awoken by aram asking me to do something for her. i followed her out of the hut but we were interrupted by a snake sighting in the kitchen hut! of course everybody freaked out and i ran to get my machete yelling at chris to wake up for a snake kill. aram stood by the hut with a big stick yelling "oh my god oh my god oh my god" and i went to go kill the snake but he was climbing up the wall (how do they do that with no legs?!) and aram stopped me because the walls are weak and they think the hut will collapse soon (makes sense as there are gigantic cracks in the walls). she knocked the snake down with the big stick and told me to run -- so i did (i'm not really sure why) and chris grabbed the machete and managed to chop off a bit of its tail. it came darting out of the hut (straight at me), all the women and children scattered, and he then hacked it in half and then crushed its head. nice. i gave him a high five and we amused ourselves with its twitching, dying body for a while and then went back to my hut.

jammo was lounging inside with her very pregnant belly splayed out around her so we decided that it was time to start the mouse hunt. i had a thought that they were living inside of an old postal box that i had filled with old pepineer sacks. there was a bunch of other crap under the bed and a huge crack along the floor and wall that needed to be fixed so it was a good time to remove everything from under the bed anyway. jammo was immediately interested.

as we (and by we, i mean chris as i sat in the far corner with my legs up in a chair) moved the box, a mouse jumped out and ran for its life. jamm rekk, caught it and ate it whole. when chris opened the box, he saw at least one more mouse but instead of dumping it and all the sacks out, he thought it better to remove the sacks out one at a time with the machete. as he poked around, another mouse jumped out and jammo caught it. chris asked her, "isn't this game fun?" she licked her chops. this happened THREE more times with baby mice jumping out of the box and jammo catching them and chowing down. one even ran straight at chris -- almost up his shorts -- but he managed to jump up and kick it straight to jamm rekk for the assist. at the end, i thought i saw one more dart off but chris said it was a cricket so we congratulated a satiated jamm rekk and praised her hunting abilities. i kept wondering though where the mother mouse was, as all the ones the cat had caught were little ones. the one from last night was rather large, so maybe that was it.

i went on to the clean up the "rondal" (Wolof for "the space under a bed") and to fill in the large cracks with clay. ma'asou came in to help and sweep. at one point, chris went outside to do something and ma'asou was bustling around and i happened to look up at a pair of my pants hanging on a nail by my back door. i saw something black and slithery vanish into a fold and my heart froze -- another snake?

i went to the pants and started to shake them out hoping that it was just a cricket again or something harmless when something bit my middle finger! i yelped and a mouse appeared and ran up to the nail and sat there shivering as i screamed and pointed. ma'asou freaked out and was like, "WHAT? WHAT??! A FROG?!!?!" and i was so freaked out that i couldn't get the words out of my mouth and ran out of the hut while chris ran in. i was still yelling (i am a huge wuss when it comes to rodents) while ma'asou (who is like, 10 years old) took the broom and beat it to death. chris grabbed it by the tail and looked all over the compound for jammo but couldn't find her so he threw it out into the bush. i think it was the mother mouse and felt kind of bad that she had to watch the slaughter of her children before being pummeled to death herself but at the same time, i wasn't going to let 6 or 7 mice live under my bed like that. the bite didn't puncture the skin so i probably don't have rabies. but we'll find out...

i needed to leave the hut for a while after all that excitement so we went to help the kids shuck some corn. when i came back in, i went to my yard to go pee and there was a snake slithering along my fence!!! i yelled for chris -- who had the machete -- just as it slipped out of the yard so he jumped out my window to go after it. it escaped. as he was making his way back into the compound (since he had jumped out the window he had left the compound completely and had to walk around it to get back inside) i tried to go pee again and ANOTHER SNAKE RIGHT BY MY DOUCHE!! i yelled "oh my god oh my god oh my god" and since my machete was in his hands i could do nothing but yell for chris and watch the snake desperately try to find a hole in my fence to escape. it slipped away just as chris ran into my yard. what the hell?! it was pretty bizarre.

after that, things kind of settled down but we marveled at the day of 3 snakes and 6 mice. we then went with the kids to the swimming hole and we waded in with them. it was cute, the kids all looked like little frogs -- the water is pretty shallow so they sit until it reaches their chins and are just a bunch of little heads bobbing around the lillies. i tried to start a water fight but failed -- the kids just took it from me (why??) and i got bored so i went to play with dame who was at the bank. he looked the most like a fat little frog and i picked him up and pretended to toss him into the water and he giggled. he then sat down so i dragged him through the mud and he got excited or something and popped and this little brown turd (with corn in it) floated to the surface of the water and i started to yell and all the women started to yell and holler for him to get out of the water and go home. so we were evicted and he started to cry and didn't want to leave but all the women yelled at us to leave so ndey fatou (his big sister who is kind of designated baby sitter) had to whip him all the way home with a lilly reed yelling "go home! go home!" it was pretty amusing.

we got home, pulled water, and spent the rest of the night shelling peanuts with the kids until dinner. but now it seems like a big storm is coming in -- which is interesting because i thought rainy season was pretty much over. its nice but also shitty because i JUST reseeded and every time i reseed it rains in the evening and washes everything away. my garden will never grow!!!

tomorrow is the last day here for a while -- i then head out to dakar to do my midservice medical exam, help redesign the senegad website, and...GET MY WISDOM TEETH REMOVED! dunh dunh dunh. this will be an interesting experience....