My favorite rainy season bird has come again! In Wolof they call it "coumba ting-ting"; I think it may be named the Senegalese fire finch, but I'm not sure. In any case, I love to see them perched on the dark green millet stalks. Every time I see a coumba ting-ting I can't help but smile. They are so shocking to the eye! Their head and breast are perfectly black, but their neck and sides are a vivid, almost electric red. They just pop out of their surroundings like neon. and when they fly; it is only short distances, with a funny jerky motion accompanied by trilling chirps. Whenever I go out to the fields nowadays, I keep my eyes open and watching for that flash of vibrant crimson in the millet.
Village life is going on as usual, ndank ndank. All my prep work is done, since at this point the seeds I gave out have either been planted or they haven't; the nebedaye trees put into the ground or else they have already been made into leaf sauce. So I stroll around, taking notes on the state of the fields that I'm monitoring, weeding a row or two when I feel like it. The kids stay out working all morning, and sometimes the afternoon as well. Soon, though, that will stop, because Ramadan is coming again. It could be any day now. They are just waiting on the moon to decide when to begin the month-long fast. Last year during Ramadan I painted the maps and murals in the school. This year I think I will just enjoy the village, and maybe try to get some end-of-service paperwork out of the way.