5 a.m – The cacophony of children’s screaming begins. Wait for it ………There’s the rooster. The dull bass of women pounding enters the fray. A donkey seems to announce his anger at all this commotion.
5:30 a.m – Here comes the drop. ALLLAAAAAAH AAAAAKKKKBARRR!!! The demented muezzin’s call to prayer nudges my aching back.
6 a.m – kakkkk-crrrra-drzzzzz. My uncle switches on his radio and unsuccessfully swings through its spectrum leaving the cold static to grate.
6:30 a.m – NEEEP NEEEP NEEEEP the superfluous sound of my alarm finally pushes me to pull back the mosquito net, peel my sweaty back from my foam ‘mattress’ and attack the outside compound with a series of dishonestly jolly greetings.
mbax nelow nga bu baax? – I hope you slept well
naka suba si?- How is the morning?
jaama nga fanaan?- You spent the night in peace?
On receiving the obligatory positive responses and delivering some of my own optimistic soundbites, I slink back into my hut to enjoy the only meal of the day that I don’t have with my family. Breakfast – a steaming cup of nescafe made creamy with powdered milk which will accelerate my sweating, and a pan of porridge with home made peanut butter mixed in. I savour it. Tomorrow I will have a banana to put in it and I’m already excited. Peace Corps are stopping by to check on everything, to ensure I haven’t gone all Kurtz in the wilderness. I can’t help but think of them as merely banana carriers. FRUIT!