Winter is much more difficult to live, even more so because of Sakona’s mistake and the loss of stored grains. Sometimes, we have just one meal a day, only porridge. With drought increasing, there is less milk. So we have to adopt a slow rhythm waiting for the good season to come back.
I live my most difficult moments. My body adjusts to this lack of food with difficulty. Weakened as I am, the cold night is a torture. I pile layers of clothes. My fingers dry so much that I can’t use my right forefinger, chapped as it is. I reach a high level of exhaustion without, however, losing my motivation.
So, this rhythm attuned to nature has consequences on my way of living. After having used only my bike for three months, I decide to buy a car. I promise the children I will drive them to school on Monday morning. On Sunday evening, I ask Mandu what time we have to leave the following morning. He raises his finger and points to the top of the tree saying to me “when the sun is there”. I smile inwardly and translate into six o’clock in the morning. Finally we will leave two hours later …
Another afternoon, in the shade of our tree, Mémé asks me to which month the light corresponds. I find it difficult to understand the question. I tell her we are in April. She is amazed and says “oh, I thought this was March luminosity”.
A little later as I am learning the language I realize that the word muhuka translated by “to morrow” in fact means to-morrow or the day after to-morrow. Finally I now translate it by “later”.
So it is impossible to plan anything. Having an objective when you get up in the morning is a mere nightmare. There is always some obstacle, whether human or technical: the car or the bike breaks down for example. Someone was supposed to come and does not turn up. A bundle of grass or bricks to build my hut disappear. Or the people change their mind or disappear.