Merry Christmas - pass the rat, please
Trip Start Oct 21, 2006
115Trip End Mar 21, 2008
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Breakfast is a thoughtful attempt at a western-style meal. Each of us is handed four pieces of bread, clamped together by two thin sticks, which we then toast over the fire, like marshmallows. Butter, jam and a hard-boiled egg are the toppings and a hot cup of instant coffee completes our Christmas breakfast.
The schoolhouse in the village is surprisingly well-maintained. A Canadian lady whose daughter died was so heartbroken that she decided to devote her life and savings to this school, so she paid for much of the schoolhouse and sometimes teaches here as well. It's a sad story but a happy one for the school, which has about 60 students, some of whom walk two hours each way to get to and from school every day.
Tonight's delicacy is a big fat rat that Buffalo Bill caught. He kindly shows us his rat-cooking technique. First he rips out all the innards - guts, intestines, heart, etc, with his hands. Then he
Christmas dinner for the rest of us is a much more civilised selection of rice plus some yummy vegetarian dishes cooked by Sammy and Jun. We did spot Buffalo Bill cleaning the dishes beforehand, so we just hope he washed his hands after disecting the rat. Following our meal we again retire to the warmth of the campfire to whle away the evening. Yesterday was music, today is games, starting with charades. Language and cultural limitation mean that it is a somewhat limited version of the game, requiring impersonation of such inanimate objects as flashlights, batteries and toilet paper.
Like last night, sleeping is the toughest part of the evening. There are no mattresses in these little huts so we are lying on a straw mat on top of wooden boards. This makes the night uncomfortable as well as cold, so we probably only get a couple of hours between us, again. I've been fighting a sniffly cold for the last couple of days too, which doesn't make things any better.