Hãr is Brave
Since moving to Senegal, my tolerance for life’s creepies and crawlies has increased significantly. I fall asleep to the sound of mice scurrying through my roof thatching. I see nuclear sized cockroaches on a semi-regular basis. I check my shoes every morning to ensure that there are no scorpions hiding inside. But today, I met my reptilian match.
I opened the door of my hut this morning and saw a three foot long lizard waddling across the floor and then up the wall. I immediately screamed and ran out of my hut shuddering and hopping from foot to foot. I was freaked. This lizard was HUGE. It belonged in a National Geographic magazine, not in my hut.
One of my older sisters, Bebé asked me what was wrong. Not knowing the Pulaar word for “lizard”, the only thing I could think to say was, “Mi Suusataa!” (“I am not brave!”). Bebé came into my hut and after a quick inspection she spotted the huge lizard. Within an instant she was by my side, hovering by the hut door, squealing along with me. We then proceeded to throw rocks at the lizard in a pathetic attempt to scare it out of my hut. When our rock throwing yielded no success, Bebé began calling for Hãr, my oldest sister. I asked her–between squeals and rock throwing– “Why Hãr?”. And she turned to me and told me, “Hãr no suusi” (“Hãr is brave”) with a matter-of-fact look. She continued to call for Hãr and throw rocks.
When Hãr walked over, we (mostly Bebé) explained the reptile situation in my hut. Hãr smiled and then laughed at us. Once she was done making fun of us, she grabbed a stick, marched nto my hut, and chased the HUGE lizard out of the hut. All with her youngest child, Sannu, strapped on her back.
Completely shocked. I turned to Bebé and all I could manage to say was, “A halii gonga, Hãr no suusi!” (“you spoke truth, Hãr is brave!’).
Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are mine alone and do not represent the positions or views of the U.S. Government or the U.S. Peace Corps.