Waking Up Again

Ariel Vardy - Senegal


February 13, 2013

Maybe it’s a sleeping kick from her sister, lying in the same small bed that wakes her up. Whatever it is, maybe a knock on the door from her mom, She wakes up at about Seven a clock. Having no blanket, her consciousness comes with an immediate and sharp awareness of the harsh, cold temperature. Shivering, Shaking, and holding herself in a hug against the cold, She briskly finds clothes throws a thin cloth around her bare arms, walking outside. She looks around the compound and finds the “Satalde”, a plastic kettle used for basic hand and body washing. Of course, it’s empty and so she grabs the big bucket and walks towards the well. After returning and filling the Satalde, She pours the cold water into her hands, and splashes it on to her face and into her teeth; She brushes quickly with one finger. The cruel cold of the water wakes her up and makes her face even more vulnerable to the morning freeze. She immediately goes to the “churru” to get the matches and starts the fire. Taking her time to balance last night’s sauce on three rocks over the fire, she manages to steal some crispy heat from the cozy fire. She knows as soon as her mom walks by She will be told to start working, but the small comfy fire is keeping her from moving. Still bracing the cold on her upper body, her legs start feeling the fire as She looks around the compound at the goat droppings, plastic trash, peanut shells, and misplaces rocks she will soon be bending over to sweep away.

Aware of the rapidly shortening time before she must leave for school, she takes on a plot of ground, and quickly cleans it up. The bamboo broom is time consuming, but the multitude of small pines leaves a nice pattern on the thin layer of sand. Now working fast, she puts down the broom, gets out the finely mashed and steamed corn couscous from the night before, and throws the warmed sauce over it.

Ready to eat, She looks up.

“Come eat; selu, kaka, ar gnam, hachitaade no woodi, argoy.”

Maybe they come, maybe the don’t, but either way, its right then that the baby starts crying. She runs to get him and take him outside. Her mom had left the compound to water the village garden, so its her responsibility to overlook his morning waking up and poopings. Crying, the baby gets water thrown on his face— She’s too tired and cold to wash him with care. She goes back, and grabs a few handfuls of Lychery, still chewing as she goes to get her bike. The other girls have reached her house and are now waiting for her.

Hopping on, she starts peddling the 25 minute rocky and sandy ride to school. She was lucky today there was left overs, some days she has to start making porridge, which will inevitably still be in the process of cooking when she has to get up and leave.

Ariel Vardy