Sour milk sunday!

Trip Start Mar 15, 2005
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Trip End Apr 01, 2007


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Flag of Senegal  ,
Monday, July 18, 2005

Hello!

Mid July already!
The title of this entry was inspired by my birthday cake substitute of 'chikiri'. Yesterday my host family threw a little birthday party for me, and mariama, my older sister made one of my favorite senegalese treats. chikiri is..as far as i can tell, made in the following way:
you stir hot water, powdered milk and sour milk in a large bowl. then you leave it out for a day so that the whole mix begins to sour. (is your mouth watering yet?)
then, you add copious amounts of sugar and refrigerate. once the kosam is ready (that perfect sweetened sour mixture is kosam) you have millet ground up into a fine powder,add water and roll it into tiny balls. i cant do this for the life of me. the millet balls are steamed until they harden slightly, butter is added, and its left to cool. In the market you can buy chikiri in plastic bags. i love this because its so rediculous to be sucking sour milk mixed with millet from the corner of a plastic bag. my host siter skipped the plastic bag and instead prepared a lovely dinner setting for five ( i had my language teacher from thies and his cousin come over ) and we all enjoyed ourselves. my contribution was to bake some banana bread.

It was a very nice day, and i managed to get some good pictures though im not sure when i'll be able to upload then to this site.
I must not forget to metion that i had a komple made for my birthday. (matching shirt and skirt and pants). and by matching, i mean they are all made from the most fantastically hideous material i could possibly find. I love them, and look like a clown when i wear them. everyone says 'miamouna (thats my senegalese name..no one here knows im jenny), ano weedi' which is hysterically funny to me since i know that i certainly dont look pretty in my clown outfit.

This morning i began my research of rainy season crops at the garden. i planted several varieties of each, cucumber, tomato, lettuce and carrot. im curious to see the germination percentages. No one has tried to compare the success of certain varieties at particular times of the year here in kolda. Speaking of times of the year, ive had several of you ask what the seasons are.
Ive mentioned that its currently the rainy season, but let me go into a little more detail. from the end of may, approximately, until october is the rainy season in kolda. This means the sweat drips constantly off your body because the humidity is so high, and temperatures are in the mid 90s. im in the far south of senegal, so my seasons are not the same as in the north. their rainy season starts later and ends sooner, by almost two months. in october the rain stops, and it is supposed to be the nicest time of year..until the start of january/february. what does this mean? it means that its not quite as hot as the hot season, (but its still hot 85-105). once the hot season starts temperatures get into the 120s on occassion. so, summing up: my limited experience says: i have three seasons to look forward to. the rainy season (where staph infections and scorpians run wild), the dry season, and the dry and hot season.

The water in the Casamance river has started to rise. I used to be able to easily pass from one side to the other on my bike when going from my house to the regional house. Now its not so easy. There is a rickety old bridge..i use the term loosely, that crosses near the market. The other day i decided to brave it. lifting my bike above my head, (with many senegalese on-lookers) i slowly made my way across two slimy logs suspended ten or so feet above the water. It was scary, and fun. i wouldnt have gotten hurt if i fell..i dont think, because the water looked deep enough to break the fall. I told my host family about the adventure and was very seriously warned that the bad spirits of the people who drown in the river every year dont like strangers, so if i fall in they will surely grab me. it wasnt much help to let them know i could swim. most people here cant swim, so ever year ppl drown trying to cross.

On friday im going to another volunteers village to teach several groups of young kids a little about soccer. It should be interesting. Thankfully ill have her with me to translate my still budding pulaar to the little devils. I think i might send one of my host brothers to the market to bargain for a soccer ball for me before i go.
Id like to bike to the village, however 50 km doesnt appeal to the other volunteer like it does to me. Id love to get the exercise and see some of the country between here and there.

The mosquitos are in full swing now that its been raining for a month or so. I dont know how the senegalese sleep without a net. I have a slight issue with my 'bathroom' because its basically a septic tank with a hole in the top for a toilet. as many of you know..mosquitos like standing water. the hole is covered with an old piece of cloth to try and minimize infestation, however every morning when i uncover it, its like a scene from a horror movie (in my opinion)..the swarm of bugs that fly from within. If one werent careful, going to the bathroom could cost 40 to 50 bug bites in very uncomfortable places. im careful.

I think on that note, im off to my garden.
thanks for all of your support, its nice to know people are still interested to know whats going on here in kolda.
no packages have arrived yet. im keeping my fingers crossed for christmas :)
but i did learn that padded envelopes reach me in about two weeks, and dont cost anything to get through customs..a great little postal secret.
hope this finds you all healthy, and enjoying friends and family!
lots of love
jenny
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