Rural Life

I don’t know how often y’all get a chance to sit back and take stock of a day’s events but let me share my revelations from today. Don’t work outside in the African sun for 4+ hours. Ever. It’s a terrible idea. Five liters of water drunk and I’m still feeling the heat effects. What could possibly lure me into the hot, unforgiving humidity and blazing light? Welllll lets start up at the beginning shall we.

I woke up. It was a good morning, cool, comfortable, village sounds echoing around me. My neighbors working and talking, the goats sneezing and bleeting, chickens and birds doin’ their morning routine. I slipped out of bed, donned my laundry clothes – basket ball shorts – meanandered through the hut, grabbed a bowl of charcoal, lit my braiser and set it outside to get it going, slipped back inside, readied my porridge, did some push ups, mixed cold water with powdered soap and set it on the stoop. Swung my braiser, got good flames going from the coals, then put on water to boil. Bought some giant mushrooms, hung em to dry, and started washing. Got clothes washed, water was boilin, put some in my oats to make my porridge, used the rest to boil my sheets and clothes. Ate… Mmmmn. Hung my clothes, decided I had too many mushrooms to let hang dry.

Soo I grabbed my trusty stapler, a chunk of old mosquito net, some length of wire, black roofing plastic and the plastic that my mattress came in – I’m kinda a packrat what can I say – and headed out to my drying rack. I cut the roofing plastic to size, laid it out, then added four riser sticks of split bamboo, made a tent out of the clear plastic, stapled it all into a good looking solar drier, cut out a vent window, and added the piece of old mosquito net. Bam!! Done. I slipped my yummy mushrooms inside, laid out my solar charger (Goal Zero Guide 10), tossed on some tunes on my iPod and set to work fixing my roof.

Oh yeah!! My roof! So while I was away there was a frog choker, oh you know, one of those storms where you think that guy Noah down the street isn’t as crazy as he seems. I came home to half my storage room sans plastic sheeting and my sitting room missing one of its mealie meal sack ceiling tiles. Problems identified it was time for solutions. I got right into it. I practiced my pull-ups and swung over into a push up, got myself balanced on my single brick-width wall and eased my way over to the trouble section. Nails and hammer in hand I went to work. Inside you say! What about the hours in the sun you say?! Well! Just after mending my roofing, and some quick decorating with aforementioned stapler, it was time to get back outside and work. I weeded (sorta – I don’t know what’s what) watered, witnessed two droppings – should I say live births? Yeah… How often does that happen … you’re outside, water container in hand, when you hear these god awful screams. You run behind your house to see two pregnant goats giving birth. Within minutes you’ve got two slimy bloody kids trying to figure out how to walk.

After that business, it was back inside to lay on my sweet, loving, amazing, cool concrete floor – that’s right sprawled out on the floor trying to transfer as much heat out of my body as possible – would have made for a great photo. Took an hour nap – totally passed out – woke up and headed to my clinic. Did some work and then it was over to my host’s house. Did a field visit to his fields. Walked the village to visit his goats, patched some dirt that was caving in near his latrine, ate a fantastic dinner of goat, beans – mushrooms – and ubwali. The rains came, the power fluctuated, the rains went and I rode home. Talked to the folks a bit, writing to y’all just now, and just after these lines I’ll be sleeping!

G’night y’all mwalota bwino!






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