“It’s coming,” Cheikh said sleepily as he rolled over.

It was about 5am, still pitch black in our room and I am not one who functions well in the morning, so I had idea what he was-ALLAAAAH U AKBAR!… ALLAAAAH U AKBAR!

Ah, yes. The early morning call to prayer from the local mosque. Which, by the way, is located right next to the room we were sleeping in and the speaker points in the window. It. was. so. loud. And as a special worm treat for this unintentional early bird, there was an hour of prayer chanting broadcast after the call to prayer. But I was so tired that I slept through most of it.

When I did wake up, I was surprised that most everyone else was still in bed – or in their rooms at least. The compound was quiet and empty, except for the goats. I watched the sunrise and the village wake up just the way I like to: slow, smooth and unhurried.

Sunrise over the river
The courtyard is cleaned every morning
Mom, I'm awake. Headed out now...
Why hello, toubab. I see you're still here.
Moussa washing his face and rinsing his mouth
The toubab brushing her teeth
Ahmed after his bucket-bath
Breakfast: 1/3 baguette loaf, butter, jelly, Nescafé with powdered milk and sugar
Mmm... breakfast