Sunday, June 17, 2007

Another Day of Fishing

For those of you who remember back to our early days of African life, I tried to explain about the big Fishing Days in the village. Well, we just finished that time of year again and got to experience several more of those fishing days, even participating some times, which was fun. But we took some more pictures of it this time around. If you want to know more about the fun and strange adventure that is Fishing Day, you can look in the back posts of the blog. But here's so pics that Reaiah got us.

The massive crowd of villagers that treks to the waterhole for fishing day, all standing waist deep in the muddy swamp.

Here's the women setting up and preparing their hand held nets before entering the water.

Reaiah with a few of the boys and the whale-fish that one of them had caught.

Creepy crawlers

I grew up in Texas where scorpions were not that uncommon of a sight. Never cared for them, and preferred them dead, but mostly we just avoided each other.
Here in Mali we have two kinds of scorpions. A skinny brown one (not much different in size or shape from the kind I grew up seeing in our house). And the large black one. The black one, though, is apparently on average about four to five inches long and armored in a heavy duty, sleak-black exo-skeleton. To me it looks like a scorpion-orc from Lord of the Rings and makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.
After being in the village a few months we got into a conversation about the scorpions (trying to figure out their different names, actually) and our friends told us that both of them, of course, would sting. But one of them did serious damage. It's sting is far worse and can make you swell up like crazy and last for close to a week. Some people when left untreated have even died from it. My thoughts returned to the nasty black orc we caught sneaking into our house during our first few weeks in country. But the Africans are insistent that the big black orcs are almost harmless. They'll sting, but the pain is mild and only lasts a few hours. Some of the boys tried to convince us that they hardly even felt it when they were stung by those. No, its the little browns you gotta watch out for. Either way, I don't think I can convince my instincts that the horrible black orc isn't a serious threat to me. I only wish I had a picture to show you what these things looked like. Well, I take that back. I've seen one one time and I don't really care to see another just so I can take a picture of it for you. You'll just have to trust me.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Mango Piñata

So its dry/hot season here in good ole Africa. Startin to feel like July/Aug in Texas (with the AC broken), but we’re still here and, even if just for the mangos that have just started falling from the trees again, its worth it. The other day some clouds (almost stormy looking even!) blew in and the wind kicked up like crazy. Being dry season, though it was a gynormous dust disaster and you could hardly stand up outside for the dirt-hurricane going on. Still our friends and the kids in our compound went crazy running around grabbing buckets and pails, anything they could find and rushed out to the mango groves. Seems the wind knocks out a ton of the ripening mangoes and it’s a mad dash by everyone with functioning legs to run the race to grab as many as you can before they get snagged by someone else. We were eating dinner at the time, so we missed out on the actual race to the trees, but our friends who went brought back their spoils to us to share. In our group, it was madness to get the beautiful pile of treasures washed and begin the feast. We sat crouched around the small bowl of water holding the mangoes, each taking one and scarfing it down as fast as possible so that you could be quick enough to grab another and hopefully another after that before they were all gone. It was against the ‘rules’ to grab several at a time and keep them for yourself, you could have only what you could actually be eating/biting into at the time. Everything else was fair game. It was like watching a pack of wild animals all fighting for their fair share of the kill…
I had just eaten a lot and so I wasn’t quite ready to inhale a slimy (though quite tasty) bunch of fruit. Those who were feasting kept insisting that I grab one and eat up. I told them I would eat a little later only to be answered in all seriousness, that there wouldn’t be any left later. So I grabbed mine and held it in my hand as I watched the rest of the mangoes disappear quickly into the greedy and gluttonous mouths around me. It was hilarious and now me and Reaiah are just waiting for another wind storm to blow through so we can get in on the race action… It’s just not something you can do back home.

This is a picture of the winds blowing through the mango grove across from our compound.

Hello everyone,
just putting some random pictures on here from the last few months. a few more looks at my life in Africa.

This is the men reroofing one of our huts.

Our friend brought home a pet hawk one day.
He can't fly or really kill his own food. He's a pretty pathetic hawk. He was our houseguest for a month or so. But some of the neighborhood kids wanted him more than we did, so he's no longer with us. Still pretty cool to have a pet hawk, even fora little while.
And now we have a kitten. She's supposed to be our mouser, but our mice are about as big as she is at the moment. Still, haven't seen any mice in a while, so...