Posted by: cgross1 | March 17, 2011

Psychic Chickens (and other things)

First off, sorry for the delay. Internet in my village has been a little patchy as of late.

Anyways… I think that animals here have some sort of sixth sense, because they can tell when you are looking at them, or when someone is going to throw something at them. Since animals here pretty much run amok, there are constantly goats and sheep and chickens trying to get into food. So people spook them and throw rocks in their general direction to scare them off. But it is interesting, because the animals know when you are getting ready to scare them off, even before you have made any move to do it. It’s quite astounding. I was watching this chicken the other day, and it was getting into someone’s flour. One of the women I was talking to kind of looked at it out of the corner of her eye, and the chicken made a big ruckus and ran off in a panic. It’s really kind of funny.

Anyways, in the interest in shared learning, I have been compiling a list of things people here would find strange about life in the US, and things that you might or might not find strange about life here. I’m sure there are a lot more things, but I’m kind of biased now, since I don’t think of a lot of stuff here as strange anymore, whereas I might have when I first arrived.

Things People Here Would Find Odd

Treating pets like people: The women get a real kick out of watching me pet dogs – they think it’s really bizarre. Here animals are just animals, or at least, that’s how it is in village.

Amusement Parks: Even I’m starting to think that one is weird. Parks for amusement? Odd.

Lack of repose: People here take a several hour rest during the middle of the day, from about 12-3. During the hot season it’s just too difficult to do things, I guess. I’ll get to see soon! Hot season starts this coming month. Anyway, the women think that working an eight or nine hour day with no repose is very odd.

Washing Machines: Again, this is for women in village. They think it is very odd to have a machine to wash clothes for you. They do it all by hand. I will have a newfound appreciation for washing machines when I get back!

Structured Exercise: Like going to a gym, or lifting weights. They get their exercise in their daily living. There were some German women here the other day showing off some yoga moves, and the women could not understand why people would do yoga, even after I explained it to them.

Walking a dog (or leashes): Animals here roam freely, including dogs. I have yet to see a dog on any sort of leash, rope, or chain.

Buying clothes in a store: Most people here buy fabric and take to their tailor to be made into clothing. Even clothing that is imported from Europe or America is not sold in department stores, but in open-air kiosks on the street – or leastways that is how it is in village. Life in the capital is a little different.

Things We Might Find Odd

Eating and drinking out of saches (plastic bags): Most drinks here with the exceptions of cokes and such, are served in little plastic baggies, and tied off at the top. To drink, you bite off one tip of the bottom of the plastic. It takes some skill, but it’s really quite handy and refreshing. And for the most part to-go boxes are to-go baggies. If you buy street food like benga (beans and rice), it is given to you in a plastic bag. But I think it tastes better that way!!

Waiting up to 2 hours for food in a restaurant: Customer service does not really exist here, so head to a restaurant a few hours before you are hungry, because it might take that long to get your food! And hopefully it will be what you ordered. ^^

Restaurants not having 90% of what is on the menu: Imagine going to the Elephant Bar, deciding on a dish, ordering it, and being told that they don’t have it – 10 times. Since the idea of stock/backstock doesn’t exist here, sometimes restaurants don’t order what they need before they run out. But you get to try a lot of new dishes that way!

Animals running amok: Donkeys, cows, sheep, goats, dogs, chickens, pigs, and other animals just kind of wander around here, devoid of owners to supervise them. And yet somehow all of the animals end up back at home, and no one ever gets confused about what belongs to whom. It’s really quite something!

Using brooms without handles: It’s like cleaning the floor with a toothbrush. They have a bunch of wispy grasses that they tie together – the whole broom is about a foot long, and they sweep entire houses bent over! It’s really hard on the back, and yet people have been doing it this way since forever. It’s amazing what the women here can do!

Eating everything with our hands: And I mean everything. Eating soupy rice is really hard! Try eating your next meal entirely with your hands – no utensils (or napkins)!! It takes some mad skill, and yet all the women here make it look incredible easy!

Five year olds riding adult sized bikes: It’s really funny to watch, because they’re so good at it. I’ve never seen anyone fall. They can’t reach the pedals from the seat, so they perch on the crossbar and use the seat as a place to store whatever they have been sent out by their parents to buy. It’s really awesome!  

Well, that’s all for now – we are officially going into hot season, which I hear lasts until the middle or end May, so that should be fun. But on the up side – it’ll be mango season in four or so weeks!! I’m so excited, because I have seven huge mango trees that have like a zillion baby mangoes – yum! (BTW, unripe mangoes are like green cooking apples – super sour, but stew them up with some sugar, raisins and cinnamon, and yum!!)

Until next time,




  1. Structured exercise…that reminds me, have you been keeping up on your taekwondo? 🙂

    Interesting differences, thanks for sharing. I would totally be petting all the dogs. And I really like the idea of a three-hour rest in the middle of the day.

    If April-May is your hot season, what is your June-August (summer) like?

    • June-August is rainy season, so it is relatively cooler than March-May, as there is no rain to cool things down then!!

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