Saturday, November 20, 2004

All about Midnight, Lefty, Freddy & Osama

Hello, all. I've been kind of incommunicado lately. Sorry. I've been here 7 months now and the last 4 have been pretty routine. So there's not a lot of news, and I wouldn't mind coming home, but I'm also pretty content with each day. I'm learning classical guitar and reading more non-fiction than I ever would in the states.

As of last Friday, I have now broken through to the sweet land of conversational Portuguese. And being in a country without daylight-savings time, I now both understand and fully appreciate the merit of it. Benjamin Franklin was a very smart man, despite what the Amish think.

The eggs started hatching last week; I think we have six chicks now. Both Midnight and Lefty were laying them, but we think there's 2 different fathers. Midnight was attacked by the white rooster from across the street, who I've named Freddy. A few weeks later Lefty took up with Osama, who was given to us by a Mozambican grandma and christened by Bill, the quirky Canadian. He named another wild chicken Hitler because he had a broken leg and walked with a goose-step.

Osama just started crowing a few weeks ago, starting usually at 4:27am (this is the need for daylight-savings). Since he crows from the courtyard, which reverberates and is only a screen wall away from my room, it was pretty much like having a fire engine outside my door. I say 'was' because Bill snapped one morning and the rooster has not been heard from again. I still don't know what he did that morning--he never did tell me-- but that night he locked him in the tool room and kept him in there until one of our workers who actually wanted a rooster came to get him.

Freddy, on the other hand, was not such a bother to me because he crowed not in the courtyard but from directly under Bill's window. He's been trying to hire a hit man for 100,000MT ($4) but so far no one will bite. I've been telling him the price is too low (because remember this one's not ours). But ironically, last week Bill saw Freddy get hit by a car, stumble to the side of the road and keel over dead. This week, a white rooster is again crowing under his window. I call him Freddy 2, even though we figure he must somehow be the same rooster.

As for the eggs, I'm sure some of them will never hatch, these being the first ones that just sat on the kitchen counter until we all (chickens included) got our act together and made a nest. We were up to 30 eggs before they started hatching. Midnight and Lefty job-share on nest-sitting and chick-walking. It's pretty funny to see 2 really fat hens practically sitting on top of each other sharing a nest. The boss' daughter came out last weekend to see her grandkids, squatting for hours watching them.

So apparently you're never supposed to help a chick out of its egg -- a guard did that because the chick was taking so long and ants were crawling inside -- and later Bill went out and the chick was all bloody and missing an eye because Midnight was just destroying it. I don't understand chickens. But now we're thinking maybe Midnight has gone psychotic, beyond normal animal-nature craziness, because she's pecking at her other chicks too. So we might have to eat her.

I got interviewed for a documentary today, woo-hoo. The husband of our HIV/AIDS program manager is a film-maker. He might make me a music video, too, so we also got a shot of Amos holding a chick. That would be the last frame, to go with Psalm 91:1-2. Except the chick didn't seem too happy, that's the only problem.

Well, anyway, that's my life. As you can see, it revolves mainly around chickens and once in a while I do bookkeeping. I'm going home in just a few weeks. Whoopee! Then I'm coming back for another 4 months.


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