Saturday, March 24, 2007


There are five cows tied up outside my compound house – outside my window, specifically. They just showed up one day, tied to the withering trees which provide a tiny amount of shade – particularly important, given we’re at the height of the dry season, with the sun at its strongest.

I really don’t know why the cows are there. But I’ve gotten used to not knowing what’s going on. Not that I don’t ask questions – that’s the first thing that EWB teaches you to do. But questions inevitably lead to more questions, and in the case of the cows, seeking more information is just going to make me tired. Plus, I like a little mystery in life.

So I know that they (the cows) are owned by the landlord of my house. I also know that they’re being fed old dried cassava that the family has been laying out in the sun. Furthermore, I know that the cows make a terrible racket at random times during the day and night.

However, one time at which they moo like clockwork is 4am. It’s at this time that the mosque, which finds itself right next door to my house (and has always been there – it didn’t just show up) starts its call to prayer over a bellowing sound system. I’m pretty sure that the speaker is pointed directly at my window, as the sound of the muezzin chanting “Allahu Akbar” hammers me from my sleep without fail every morning.

The chanting is really quite beautiful, under most circumstances. I particularly enjoy it at dusk, as the sun is almost gone and the smoke from cooking fires rolls slowly onto the streets.

But at 4am it’s a different story -- especially now that the cows are there to add to the fray. I’ll normally press my pillow over my ears, and fall back asleep. But my co-workers insist I should start praying – I’m awake, anyway, so why not?

I may have to buy some ear plugs.

Clip here to listen to the sounds outside my room (mp3 format).


Sarah said...

So do cows still rate higher than sheep in your books?

Anonymous said...

Hehe, that's super cute.

I'm a new lurker from EWB (Manitoba chapter) and looking forward to reading more of your blog.