So yes hello every six months I update my blog!
Ramadan just ended on Monday, and I just realized that two posts ago I also wrote about Ramadan, but now with the fresh perspective of another year in Peace Corps, I’ll use this opportunity to walk you through a day in the life of me during Ramadan.
4:53am – My sister knocks on the door to wake me up. I of course don’t hear her because I’m sleeping outside, but my dog does and goes crazy barking because he’s smart and knows that only axe murderers knock on your door at 4:53am. (Editor’s Note – I realize now that an axe murderer probably wouldn’t knock, they would just axe down the door.)
4:55am – I stumble into my hut and throw on the muumuu I wore the night before. It is inside out and backwards. I don’t care.
4:58am – I come outside to eat some breakfast before the sun comes up. My mom is very concerned and wants to make sure I washed my face. I have not. I lie. I chew on half a loaf of bread and drink what my mom calls “jio kando”, which translates literally to hot water but is actually Kinkeilliba, a delicious tea.
5:05am – I stumble back to bed and squeeze in a few more hours of sleep.
7:30am – I go running because I know by the evening I will feel like death. We’re not supposed to drink any water during the day either but I’m a wimp and sneak whole Nalgenes in my room.
9:00am – I join everyone in my family who is cracking peanuts, because the rains are coming and it’ll be time to start planting them soon. My 7-year-old sister, Kady, swears she is going to fast this year.
9:17am – Kady cracks and eats a peanut. She then declares fasting is over and proceeds to eat all last night’s dinner as a morning snack. I stare at her in open mouthed jealousy.
11:46am – A direct quote from my diary on May 28th: “I’m so hungry I want to eat my own hat”.
3:18pm – I’m lying on the floor of my hut in a hunger fog. I chug a whole Nalgene and then poke my head outside to see if anyone is doing anything. My whole family is lying on their mats. It looks like someone spread sleeping gas through my village cause nobody is moving. It’s 105 degrees Fahrenheit. I lie back down.
5:45pm – I take stock of my friends in my village. They are all very impressed that I am fasting. They remind me that you can’t drink water or eat anything all day for 28 days. I say yes, I know, I did this last year. They restate the facts. I go back to my hut and guiltily drink more water.
7:30pm – The sun finally sets and my whole family is sitting around our water jug, waiting for my dad to take his first drink of icy cold water. We chug as much water as possible and then barely have any room for the coffee, bread, and macaroni my sister has prepared for break – fast.
9:45pm – I had fallen asleep outside and my mom wakes me up. She prepared me a special early dinner because she knows Sata is a child and goes to bed before everyone else. The rest of the family, I assume, eats at midnight. But I am soundly asleep by this point, ready to do it all again tomorrow.
Which I do, for a few days, and then I give up and go on vacation. I’m weak and I know it, but I got to lie on a beach and camp on an uninhabited island made entirely out of seashells (no joke! A whole island made of seashells!). I’m at peace with my decision.
Mostly, not much goes on during this month because everyone is fasting. However, one night we did have one big commotion. After break – fast, my neighbor comes to my compound looking for my dad. He’s the chief, so he’s in charge of handling all the interpersonal problems in the village. My neighbor is talking really fast and gesticulating wildly, but I pick up that there are some guys around who were trying to tie up goats in a nearby field. Apparently, because we didn’t recognize these men and because we don’t tie up goats in fields at night, my neighbor knew instantly that these guys had stolen said goats. My neighbor, Yera, screamed “Hey! You stole those goats!”, and the guys took off. However, they left the goats behind. At this point, all the young men in my village come to my compound, dragging 7 screaming goats behind them on ropes. The rest of the village follows them in, because this is the big thing that’s happened today and we all want to see it. “Look at the goats!” my friend Tunko says. “They were stolen!” There are approximately 60 people in my compound now. My dad calls the gendarme (local police), and we store the goats in our backyard and give them some food. Nobody knows whose goats they are. The gendarme appears in a huge truck, and they ask to see the goats. Everyone waits patiently outside. The gendarme calls Yera into the backyard to describe the event. The gendarme then decides to take the goats back to their post, which is in our road town 3 kilometers up the road. We all stare helpfully at the gendarme as they load these 7 screaming goats into the bed of their pickup truck. The truck leaves and we all stand around talking about the thieves for a few minutes, and then go back to our respective compounds. Ten minutes later, a man and a woman pull up on a motorcycle. The woman is speaking pulaar (traditionally, Pulaar villages make their living herding livestock), and is frantically shouting questions at my dad. She describes a big female goat with a beard, and asks if we’ve seen them. The whole village comes back to my compound to tell the woman that yes! We found your goats! We sent them to the gendarme! She is extremely grateful. Now that my whole village is back in my compound, a fight breaks out. I have absolutely no idea what happened. The fight ends, everyone looks happy and is friends again, the pulaar couple leaves to retrieve their 7 screaming goats. (Editor’s Note – I have no clue how the couple actually got their goats back to their village, because they were on a motorcycle and I assume its difficult to carry 7 screaming goats on one motorcycle, but what do I know?) And that, my friends, is how the citizens of my village saved the day.