We've had a decent dry spell in village considering that it's supposed to be prime time for rain. The last few weeks have brought clouds, wind, lighting, and thunder, but no rain. This means most people have been sitting around a lot waiting for the rains to show up so they can plant millet.
Fortunately on Friday Allah decided to ease the people's disgruntlement and sent rain. Not the righteous fury that usually shows up... but a nice, long, soaking rain that started at 2 am and went until 2 pm. Now everything is wet, muddy, and damp. But at least the crops are finally getting in.
However, the rain has annoyingly found it's way back into my house through the roof again. I woke up to a small puddle and gobs of mud on the floor. This means that once again I'll have to go borrow someone's tree-trunk-turned ladder, climb up on the roof with a bucket of dirt and stop around barefoot to pack the mud roof down, hoping all the while the "soft spot" that has developed isn't too soft. One thing American and African cultures share in common is a desire NOT to come crashing through one's own roof into the living room.
I've also discovered that I'm going to have to fix the hangar/awning in front of my house. This is the same hangar that, as you may recall, was built by my counterpart without doing any measuring or strategizing before hand. As a result, the crossbeam that supports most of the weight of the roof is terribly undersized and is now sagging considerably under the weight of all the rain that the straw roofing has soaked up. My front door only opens half way without me having to push the hangar up. So, at present I've had to add additional reinforcement in the form of some leftover pvc pipe and a stack of bricks. Doing so has reduced my fear of the whole thing coming crashing down in front of my door, which would leave me trapped inside.
Waking up on a rainy day is something I enjoy here because it means that I have some extra time to myself in my house to read, clean, write, or do whatever I want without feeling like I have to mingle with people in the community right away. It's like a snow day. However, this Friday was an exception. At 8 am a neighbor came over to inform me that a baby naming ceremony was happening across the street. There was no backing out of this invitation even if I wanted to because the celebration was for someone in my "family", the chief was there, and it was directly across from my front door so everyone knew where I was and what I had been up to that morning. Just once though I wish I would be informed about these things before they actually started. I need time to get my party ensemble together and run down to Walgreens to by a "congratulations" card before I can show up... obviously.
In any case, I threw on some nice clothes and a rain coat and went across the street for the celebration. I slipped my way through the mud and arrived just in time to hear the end of the blessing which was being given by the imam with six fingers on one hand. After the prayer I found a place to sit on the ground (like everyone else) inside a tiny little room right in front of the chief and right next to a guy who works at one of the mills in town and has the middle finger on his right hand broken so he's always "flipping the bird". Fortunately that gesture doesn't mean anything here.
Once the "cafe" had been brought out, and after someone fished the leaves out of it, and after it had been spilled all over me by kids attempting to pass cups all over the room, we had a meal. Effectively lunch at 9 am. All the kids and young men left to go eat elsewhere, so I essentially got to eat at the "big kids table" with the chief, which was really a communal bowl on the floor.
After the meal I decided to venture over to the butiki to see what everyone else in town was doing. (Butikis being the main social gathering point in village.) I found the rest of the kids and young men from the baby naming ceremony. They were waiting for their food to be brought to them. Apparently the butiki was serving as a satellite celebration site.
The young men ate at the butiki and the kids ate at a house next door. At the butiki several huge bowls of rice were brought and men gathered around them under the awning of the shop. Some held empty rice sacks over their heads to block rain that was leaking in through holes in the plastic that covered the butiki awning.
Apparently there was a mixup with the food and the kids ended up with a giant bowl of scalding hot rice, but no bowl of sauce to put on it. After waiting patiently for several minutes they decided to take matters into their own hands and came parading out into the muddy, rain filled street carrying the bowl of rice and making a lot of noise. The young men asked what was up and the boys replied that they had no sauce and were going in search of some at the neighbors. I assume they found what they wanted because the noise died down soon thereafter. I think the closest American equivalent would be a cake showing up at a birthday party without frosting and all the young party-goers deciding to take matters into their own hands by hauling the cake all over the neighborhood until they discovered frosting.
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