Monday, December 22, 2008

working hard

i'm really lucky to have such a motivated village -- they really work hard and i'm always impressed with the way they all show up for community gardening and pepiniering.

today we spent several hours watering, double digging, and applying (chemical) fertilizer to the beds for the community garden. there are plans to grow potatoes, onions, lettuce, carrots, two types of radishes and beets (even though nobody knows what radishes or beets are so i don't really know why WV gave us the seeds but at the same time it's good for them to grow new types of crops and i'm glad to see that the villagers are willing to try something new), parsley, and fudden (a plant they use to make henna).

it was hot and rather late in the day but tons of people showed up and all the women watered while the men did the digging. the old me would have been resentful of the strict gender roles and would have been spiteful of watering but i guess i've changed or adjusted and enjoyed watering with the women. there are always those several women who work their tails off -- never taking a break and really eager to participate in the process. i like hanging out with them and working with them and we worked and chatted and joked around. it felt good to work hard and sweat with the community. i was even able to sass this one guy who drives me insane because he always asks me stupid questions and bugs me and my posse of women were absolutely delighted that i was able to get him to shut up. there's also this one little old pulaar lady from the neighboring pulaar village and she is too old to carry water or the watering cans but stands around with a little bucket and diligently refills any empty watering can by her and we absolutely love each other even though we can barely speak to each other because she does not speak much wolof and i know one phrase ("i don't speak pulaar") and one word ("goat") in pulaar.

now i'm back in the village and this douchy man has showed up and is as glib and fast talking as the most stereotypical salesman. he's raking in the dough by putting cheap "silver" caps on women's teeth with a crappy battery powered drill and super glue. they are 500 CFA each -- aram got one, fatou got two and there are a bunch of other women running up to him to get their teeth done as well. where does this money come from? they come asking me for money practically everyday and constantly tell me that there's not enough money for oil or vegetables or fish or whatever and i fork over the money and then tooth-cap man comes into town and suddenly we have 500 CFA pieces to toss around. i feel extremely suspicious of this man and he is annoying and rude. i don't like him and am feeling protective of my women, but what can i do about it? (other than sit in the corner and glare at him and refuse to laugh at this jokes.) i want to judge the women for the frivolous waste of money, but then again i spent a good amount of money getting my lip pierced in america so what right do i have to judge them about spending money on silly cosmetic changes to the body?

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