Ceedu = hot season
Ceedu is the most difficult time in Senegal and most notably because of the heat. But hot season is also known as the starving season, and the season during which many people may die, especially the elderly and children. At this point in the Senegalese year, food stores from the rainy season are running low and families are left with whatever they were able to farm during the cold season. And it must last long enough through the rainy season until crops are ready for harvest. This year, the heat waves hit us in mid April. And soon the temperatures will climb into the 120s.
The Dilemma that is Clothes
Its almost impossible to wear western clothes during hot season. Its just too hot, and you would destroy them anyway because you wouldn’t be able to peel them off once you start sweating. At this point, I’ve pulled out my flowing booboos made out of light Mauritanian fabrics that I wear at lunchtime. It’s improper to be sweaty and gross in Senegalese culture so I’ve increased my showering to about ten times daily. No less.
The Early Bird- Melts Less…
If you want to get anything done during hot season, you have to go to work early before it gets above 110 degrees. I’ve been getting away with working til noon but that’ll go down to 10am pretty soon. Getting people to be motivated and do agricultural work is very difficult. The evening is the hottest part of the day made even better by eating a steaming bowl of rice and fish at 2:30pm. The heat doesn’t subside until morning so it’s impossible to sleep. Everyone sleeps outside. If you didn’t, you’d simply roast to death indoors. All of our compounds are made of cement blocks.
The Battle of Nange Hoore
Nange = sun
Hoore = head
Nange hoore is how Pulaars refer to midday, when the sun is directly overhead. In Senegalese culture, one does nothing at nange hoore. Its too hot and Pulaar people just don’t want to let you go work! And they’re very persuasive. You really gotta fight when you need to get things down midday. Unfortunately for me, my work must be timed well with the rains and requires me to get some really important things done during hot season. To win this battle, you slap on the big armor-like hat, get your sunscreen shield, and run headlong out into the battle field. Others will follow as soon as they feel bad about the fact that you’re fighting for food security and they’re not!
And last year my thermometer exploded… Summer is coming.