Chicken and Sunsets

My youngest host sister, Joyce (10/11 years old), came and knocked on my hut this morning around 10:30.
“Come on, Jenna, it’s time for the chicken!”
I looked outside and there she was, plaid skirt, pink top, live chicken and kitchen knife in her hand.
“Come on!!” She implored, and lead me around to the back of the compound.
She the proceeded to walk me through killing the chicken (I’ll spare those details), plucking the feathers, chopping it up and washing it, and then putting it in a pot over the fire to cook for lunch.
I have officially cooked a chicken from scratch.
Anyways, the reason for all of this was that today was PACA day, a day where they have us stay home to learn some of the household chores in the morning, and practice PACA (Participatory Analysis for Community Action) tools on our host families in the afternoon. It involved a good deal of Peace Corps Goal #3.

Goal #3:
Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

So, instead of going to language all morning we stayed at home, doing whatever our host mothers had prepared for us. Which, in my case, was making chicken, nshima, and green for lunch. Yum!
I also did some laundry and swept out my hut.

I get bored in class and draw on myself.

This past week has flown by, though, with lessons every day and a language simulation (oral exam) on Saturday. And between learning to dress for both the freezing cold mornings and the scorching hot afternoons, making hundreds of flash cards, and learning to prepare chicken, time has been flying by.
But sometimes it does get so slow. I have been getting more and more antsy as the days wear on. We have been inching towards the long awaited one month mark of being here, and I am finally starting to feel a bit settled into the routine! I know the bush path I take to school by heart: I know where the bad sand traps are, where the potholes are, where the rocks are that could trip me up on my bike. I know my routine and am getting used to waking up at six in the morning, when the sun is just starting to rise. I am still not used to how incredible the sunsets are, but they’re too beautiful to really settle in to.

The sunset.

I have started to go for runs in the evenings after class, something I never liked to do before. I generally find running to be boring and tedious and boring. But it is becoming more and more appealing, and I am staring to really enjoy it! Possibly because it is the only time that I have truly to myself. Where I’m not feeling self concious for sitting in my hut, where I’m not out with other people.
Sometimes I run with Hannah, which is nice, too, because we get a chance to talk and also just to run in silence.

Me and Hannah, after practicing ukulele on Sunday.

I think I’m slowly getting ready to go out to my site. To have autonomy, to have my own space.
It also means being able to survive in a foreign language, one that I am more and more comfortable with as the days go by, and to be able to go out and do the job I am supposed to do in a new place. A job which I won’t really figure out until I am in my final village. But the tools that they are working to give us are slowly coming together to start to make sense.
In short, I’m starting to be a bit more ready to do all of this.
And excited. Nervous and terrified, yes, but excited too.
I have no idea what each day really brings here, besides a beautiful sunset, but I think it will still be okay.


2 thoughts on “Chicken and Sunsets”

  1. I vividly remember killing chickens at Putney, plucking them and then having them served up. They were always full of pinfeather and basically disgusting. To this day, I really don’t like chicken. That does not seem true for you. Well done.

  2. Oh my! You are one brave girl..I was born and bred in Africa (Kenya) but I’ve never slaughtered a chicken..when I was quite young, in the village a chicken chased me for looking over her sick chick, for a long time after that I was so scared of chicken (had a phobia)…my mum, aunties and cousins have always did so, and I loved eating it after it was cooked, still do..haha!

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