A few days ago, almost like a cliche movie scene, Charles stood atop a mound of dirt and, looking off into the distance, declared, 'The weather is changing,’ as a gust of wind whipped past. He was completely correct. Like the flip of a light switch, the weather has changed. The next day, I saw my first partly cloudy sky in Shamiyoyo. Each following day has been more cloudy. I noticed the mornings and nights are suddenly warmer; I haven't needed my down jacket at all. And the days are hotter with more humidity. I am told this sudden shift in weather is responsible for the uptick in snake sightings.
Another impact of this weather shift is that solar chargers, Shamiyoyo's only power source, work for several fewer hours each day. I've had to charge my camera batteries and having promised Wana we could download a few more movies, my phone battery has been constantly drained, leaving little opportunity to blog. But on the plus side, the sunsets are even more spectacular.
Yesterday, Charles and I stopped at Chipango's, the phoneless knifemaker, to check on my order. I got to watch his process of making knives like a classic blacksmith. A helper nonstop pumped the bellows into a pile of coals to heat the rebar steel used to make the blades. Chipango would pull a glowing piece of steel from the fire and aggressively hammer it until it cooled, place it back under the coals, and rotate to a new piece. It's a painstaking process and I made sure not to distract Chipango. One slip up and his thumb or hand would undoubtedly be shattered. Chipango needed another day or two to finish so we left them after an hour of mostly silent observation.
After leaving Chipango's, Charles noticed a chameleon in a bush along the path. I love chameleons and couldn't help but pick it up and put it on different colored materials hoping it would change colors. It changed slightly but not as dramatically as I imagined it would.
After getting my chameleon fix, we helped dig preschool latrines. It was another village's scheduled work day at the preschool but we still helped dig for an hour. They chose to start the third latrine and reached about 2 ft.
I only have 4 more full days in Shamiyoyo. Starting to reflect on my experience here, I have to say some of my favorite memories are watching people chase chickens. At random times, I've seen entire families and their dogs sprinting all around the village with a panicking chicken just out of reach. The sight of grown adults falling to the ground in frustration and a chicken running for dear life juxtaposed with small giggling children flailing their arms as they clumsily follow behind and a dog looking like it's already in heaven is pure entertainment. Today was a treat. Many in Shamiyoyo have decided to relocate their chickens to a neighboring village where they'll have shelter, protecting them from predatory birds which have been swooping down and preying on Shamiyoyo chickens. That means I got to watch chicken chasing for about an hour and a half this morning.