After my Girl's Science Day, I started out the first weekend of the month with a trip to Djofia, the native village of my prinicpal. About seven miles into the mountains beyond Lafou, the village isn't easily accessible by car; even motos are in for a rough ride. I insisted on being a good volunteer for the visit and walking, so I set off for the hike (in a dress and chacos!) with two of the principal's kids and my dog. We took a few breaks under large trees along the way- the hot afternoon sun made for a rough walk. We arrived in the evening to cheers of welcome from the principal's first wife, who I know from Lafou. "A wawi sepude!" (You can travel by foot!) everyone kept saying, obviously impressed. I was immediately told to wash, and once that was done, I was subsequently given dozens of mangos and oranges to munch on until dinner was ready. They served rice with meat sauce, a special luxury in honor of my visit, and I fell asleep the first night to the loud rain hammering on the tin roof of their house. The next few days were calm and very "villageois." I went to greet many of the people from the village, who were all extremely happy to see me there. We sat on porches for hours, making tea or peeling more oranges to drink. As a big rain had just come I got to help (well, mostly watch) the principal's family plant corn and cassava. One family even brought me a chicken as a gift, and we got to kill it for dinner. [Gross Alert: the squeamish should skip to next paragraph.] I didn't do the killing, but watched the whole traditional process where the chicken's neck is slit so the blood can pool into a hole in the ground as it dies. It was a little harrowing when they thought the chicken was nearly a goner, but it's body jumped up and began flapping wildly as it's neck dangles from a little tissue. We went to go pluck and gut the chicken, throwing some of the unwanted parts to my dog. At dinner, the chicken proved to be pretty tasty. I returned to Lafou Sunday afternoon, well fed and well traveled.

Mangos arrived aplenty with the start of the rainy season this month. Walking around the village, I will constantly see kids throwing rocks or poking large long sticks at mango trees to try and get the good ones out of reach. In my town, there's actually three different varieties of mangos: the regular mango (yellow and about fist sized), Fouta mangos (smaller and crisper), and grafted mangos (huge, with tiny pits and a super sweet, peach-like taste). Besides mangos, I've tried a lot of strange new fruits that are found in the bush. One of the weirder ones is called 'Larre.' It's about the size of a mango, and when you crack it open, you find a bunch of bright yellow slimy pods that you suck on and taste a little like Warheads! Of course, with the rain, lots of insects have hatched, and children catch these termite-like flying bugs to grill. They aren't too bad with a little salt. Crunchy!

Bugs aren't the only thing that are out and about with the rain- it's also scorpion season. I've seen two so far, both at night, and one of my colleagues said he was stung by one in his bed the other night. I'm sticking with my mosquito net. I saw my first wild chameleon this month too- it was laying on the the ground by our well, lanky and a very dark green.

My hair is in braids once again, for the second time this month! It's much longer than when I arrived in Guinea last year, so the process (for a fast braider) takes at least three hours. The first time I got it done this month, it took two days! We started in the afternoon, and by the time it was dark, only half my head was done- so I went to school the next day with a half and half head and a bandanna go hide the damage. I used to hate the braids- it's really uncomfortable to have done, sleeping in them is rough, and my hair is trapped for a week! But, now I've recognized the benefits too. It's much cooler (temperature wise), it's already ready to go when you get out of bed, and washing takes much less water out of my bucket with the braids in!

At the end of the month, we had the teacher rematch against the teachers of Thianghel-Bouri, this time at Thianghel-Bouri. A good 15k away, this time I biked, and arrived just in time for the start of the soccer match. I even got a shout-out on the loud speakers at the game, as the white teacher who biked all the way here, just for the event! (Yes, they had loudspeakers, but powered by a generator and very difficult to hear.)

I'm heading to Mamou now for an Peace Corps Education seminar with all the other G-20 volunteers. After Mamou, I'll be back at site for a few more weeks until I am scheduled to head down to Conakry in late June to help plan the training for the new volunteers to arrive in July. I'll be helping with the new chemistry volunteers for a short while, and then I'm off to the US for my two week vacation!