I was contemplating yesterday what I would blog about and thought wow nothing interesting has really happened this week so I've got nothing. Then I realized that lots of interesting things have happened but my sense of normal is just totally skewed now.
First of all after my post last week we headed to the bush taxi stand and hopped into a van with 22 other people in a 16 person van. It's the worst part of coming into the capital by far. I was sandwiched between Kimie and the wall. There were five of us on the 3 person bench so let's just say it was a far cry from comfortable. The drivers of the bush taxis love to tell you they are leaving right away and then let you melt away in the sun. It's their real goal in life to have you sweat every drop of water you have had in the past 36 hours out. So anyway, we're sitting and sweating and they all of the sudden pop the hatchback open...a bush taxi for reference is like one of those kidnapper vans I think VW makes them...you know no identifying marks only a couple windows...anywho they pop the back open and slide something under the seat. Suddenly I feel something against my feet and hear Kimie scream. Then I realize the thing against my feet is actually pecking me. It was chickens!! LIVE CHICKENS UNDER MY FEET!! It's about a 45 minute ride home and we sat and waited about another 30 minutes after the chickens joined us. So that is how we rode. Kimie and I trying to keep our feet out of pecking distance and repeating to ourselves as we do daily...we live in Africa.
My second odd moment of the week was when my host dad who is a farmer walked up with his donkey and donkey cart and asked me and my friends if we liked his ride? We all laughed and said yes then I told him I wanted to go for a joy ride. Seeing as he doesn't speak a word of English he just smiled and nodded as he does to most things I say. Then I managed to say in Hausa I'm going to take the cart for a spin. Apparently this was exactly what he was waiting to hear and sent my little host sister to get a mat to lay down so that Kimie, Casey, Janice, our little neighbor girl, my host sister, and me could ride to the market. So there we were all piled in and ready to go and we took off at a whopping speed of 1 mile per hour. Apparently 4 grown women plus two children was a bit much for one donkey. But we made it to the market and everyone hopped out but me, my sister and neighbor. I was calmly saying goodbye when all the sudden we took off..this time going much faster!! Before I even knew what was happening Janice was chasing after us..my little neighbor was clutching my arm and giving me a look of terror and we were racing to the fields. I begged in broken Hausa for my sister to stop but she LOVES attention and trust me a white girl in a donkey cart in Niger is one of the most entertaining things most villagers have ever seen. I realized as I was watching the millet rush by that I had to pull a Speed move (you know when Sandra Bullock jumps from the bus at the end of the movie...she does jump right? otherwise this whole analogy doesn't make sense anywho..) I grabbed my neighbor in my arms and inched to the back of the cart and jumped. In my mind the second before I jumped I pictured us rolling on the ground like they do in the action films but then I realized the cart is only 5 feet of the ground and if I just let my legs hang I could just stand up and let the cart drive away. So that is how I rescued my neighbor and myself from the racing donkey cart.
Maybe these stories aren't unusual or interesting but I think Stephanie 4 months ago would have thought they were so I hope you do too. Now I'm off to the bush taxi...Kimie and I have a new game..whereas we used to guess how many people would be squeezed in...now we guess what's going to be the strangest thing posing as a passenger. I miss everyone in America.
P.S. Here is my new address....I'm moving on Saturday to my post. Scary!!
Corps de la Paix
BP 641, Zinder Niger