#28

One time, the chickens came over to our hut for awhile. They just hung out, eating bugs. It was early afternoon, I had just taken a shower because that’s when the river water has finally been warmed by the sun. I was about done with the second Lord of the Rings book which I had borrowed from someone in town.

Dan: Can I read it after you’re done?
Me: Sure can.

Our dinners were simple, since we were allowed just $1 a day per person. You could get a surprising amount of stuff for that in the local market. Because we had to boil our water before we drank it, sometimes it got smoky from the fire.

Me: I found an kind of weird Kool-Aid in the market, maybe it will help with the smoke flavor?
Kris: (spitting it out) tastes like grape smoke.

We were usually up early, maybe five or six? The sun came up about then, the air was cool and moisture hung around. By lunch time, it was stifling and we were all napping or sitting under the mango tree, talking, dozing. By around six in the evening, the air was turning again, and when the sun set, we had an hour of electricity. We didn’t really need it, but it did power the lights long enough to read inside under the mosquito net.

Not long after it went dark, the electric done for the day, the lights of the moon or stars hanging around outside, I’d go to sleep. We all would. Maybe I’d listen to one of the few cd’s I had brought with me, the batteries still holding on for dear life, or maybe I’d hope I didn’t roll so close to the net that the mosquitoes can bite me through it, leaving my skin looking like some kind of weird disease.

Most nights, I’d wait to hear something new. A bat. A monkey. A dance party over at wherever the most recent batch of home-brew was ready. Most nights, nothing bit my arm or my leg. Most nights I slept better than I ever had, and better than I ever have. Most nights I woke up with an expectation of learning something new about myself here in the tropical wildness of central Mozambique.