“Chaleur, Circumcisions, and Mangos, Mangos, Mangos!”
After so much traveling, it was nice to settle back into village life. In addition to school, I started meeting regularly with two work partners beginning to organize Badjoudé’s second annual International “Day of the African Child” celebration – a festival highlighting primary school talents in traditional theater, music, and dance, while at the same time educating about children’s rights. The last two weeks were spent moto-ing around the countryside visiting over 20 little primary schools in the commune, inviting them to participate—tiring but fun!
One weekend was spent in a nearby village, Anandana, attending a mountain-top circumcision fête – grown men, no anesthesia, not allowed to show any sign of pain. Incredible. In a totally opposite vein, the next day was spent at the 1st birthday party for the little girl of my best friend in village – Mounirou, Badjoudé’s Sage Femme (“wise woman” or mid-wife).
The party was as delightfully chaotic as a one year-old’s birthday should be : complete with collapsing chairs, near choking, popping balloons, and three costume changes for the princess of the day! I helped serve food and supervise then spent the rest of the time taking pictures of the kids. Nearly 100, to be exact. I couldn’t help myself, they were so cute!
Another weekend I had the honor of hosting my two lovely post-mates Heidi and Lindsey and my best bud Megan. They came to help me paint a world map at my school since the original had long since peeled. It took us three long days but in the end it was beautiful and fairly proportionally accurate to boot. Us, my homologue, and a geography teacher who helped all celebrated afterwards with cokes and galettes with fresh piment sauce at Badjoudé’s one buvette (bar). My colleagues tell me they have already been using it to teach their classes about continents.
Last but certainly not least, April announced the arrival of true mango season. Mangos now compromise a good third of my diet. Everyone walks around with a mango in hand or mouth, even the goats! Everyone has the tell-tale strings in their teeth. Yellow poo abounds. Just as exciting as mango season was the long-awaited return of the rains. When we had our first shower after so many dry months I went out and twirled in it. I hope never to take rain for granted again.