Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Letsatsi go a fisa!

Translated ‘The sun is hot!’, this phrase sums up most every conversation we have these days with people in the village. There are a few reasons for this:

1) It is in fact getting very hot. In recent weeks it has become more and more uncomfortable during peak hours of sun while our days of clouds and cooler temperatures have lessened. Our house does not cool as quickly at night and the mornings are warmer. The fan runs constantly when we are home and ice has become more valuable than gold. We hear it only gets worse from now through February.
2) People here are very concerned that we are unaware how hot it will actually get. We are asked frequently if we have weather like this at home. When we tell them it is similar in the summer, but not this hot all the time, they proceed to be sure we know to drink enough water, wear a hat, and find shade to rest during the afternoons. It is comforting to know that the village is looking out for us. Not so comforting is knowing this weather will last for quite some time.
3) Unbrellas serve a completely different function in Seleka. Instead of their traditional role of helping to keep a person dry, here they are used as a sun shield. Jessica is asked regularly where her umbrella is as she should be using it to shade herself. She has tried to explain the concept of suntanning, mentioning that many people in the US actually go out and lay in the sun purely to darken their skin. This conversation normally ends with her friends and colleagues letting out a rip roaring laugh as this is an entirely foreign concept to them.

If I were to speak only the phrase ‘Letsatsi go a fisa’ for these next few months, I think I could manage any conversation just fine and no one would take notice that I was not saying anything else. It’s just that hot.

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