Thursday, August 9, 2012

Early Morning

I apologize for not posting sooner.  It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the village.  Luckily for me, I have some time this morning to write.  Of course, it’s 4:30 a.m. and I’d prefer to be sleeping but that isn’t going to happen.

I’m a light sleeper.  I need dark and quiet to get a good night’s sleep.  That is hard to come by in the village.  At 3:21 a.m. this morning, I was awakened by the sounds and light of the children next door making the saka.  That means building a large fire and boiling stuff (taro, breadfruit or green bananas, usually) in an enormous pot.  They have to chop the firewood and because they are siblings there has to be squabbling.  They clearly were trying to keep their voices down, but they’re kids.

They awakened me but it was other things that have kept me awake.  The sound of breadfruit falling on my tin roof, for example.  It’s not at all windy so I don’t know what’s up with that, but it’s like someone lobbing a softball onto the tin roof.

The heat doesn’t help.  No breeze and no cool night temperatures.  My fan has been blowing directly on me all night and I’m still sweating.

Of course, there are always the mosquito bites.  And other assorted bug bites.  Before you start asking if I’ve tucked in my mosquito net I want to point out that almost all of the bites were received in daylight hours.  Of the 23 bites I counted, the ones on my elbow (3) and butt (4) are the itchiest.  Yes, I counted them.  Because when it’s 3:30 a.m. and you’re trying to get back to sleep, counting mosquito bites is the tropical equivalent to counting sheep.

The roosters aren’t helping.  They usually start around 3:00 a.m. and go on sporadically until dusk the following night.  I think the lack of sleep has made them psychotic which is why they crow so much at completely random hours.

The pigs are also out and about.  Who knew that pigs are nocturnal?  At least ours seem to be.  Or would they just be classified as early risers because they get up and start grunting, snorting and rooting around my fale around 3:00 a.m.  

And what is it about the magic witching hour of 3:00 a.m.?  There’s even a song about it, for heaven’s sake.  “It’s quarter to three, there’s no one in the place.  Except the mosquitoes, pigs, roosters and me…”  Ok, I paraphrase.  That’s the Peace Corps island version of the song.

It’s 5:00 a.m.  How do I know?  Church bells.  I understand why they ring them in sets of 3.  Father, Son and the Holy Ghost, presumably.  But then why the last one, so that it’s always a total of nineteen?   And the compound is now dark and quiet, except for the roosters, pigs and tap of my keyboard.  The neighbor kids are back in bed.  The lights are off in their house.  I don’t know why they needed to cook at 3:20 in the morning.

At least the early wake up call gave me an opportunity to get some writing done.

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