The other day I was supposed to go to the farm but it fell through, so I had the chance to walk around the village with Ephrem as guide but most of the other men gone to the fields.
Upon visiting Ephrem in the morning I was told we weren't going to the farm and was instead invited into a ceremony during which Ephrem and some others talked to his older brother, who died in a car accident years ago, via a woman who claimed to be the incarnation of said brother. There was one candle, and beer and cigarette butts were spilled on the floor. Occasionally the woman would tremble, or pick up four shells and drop them again, presumably looking to see how many landed upside-down. Afterwards she gave me two pieces of chalk to eat, for protection.
I went home and came back again to eat with them. The woman now was herself, and greeted me as if she had not seen me in some time. After a meal spotted with no less than 20 consecutive proposals to marry her and bring her back to America, she asked when I was going to give her a gift.
On the way home, we passed a wailing old woman who had just learned that her son-in-law died. We offered our condolences and continued walking.
We also passed my favorite old guy, a former forest agent who now has Alzheimer's (presumably). We talked to him to arrange a forest tour for my friend's visit on Saturday, which he wrote down on a scrap of paperboard and remembered the next day. After parting Ephrem explained to me that forest agents are evil, and that's why the man is now sick--instant karma, African-style.
In the afternoon I was invited to participate in a once-a-year cat-eating ceremony. Not much of a ceremony, just a group of guys who pitched in to buy an old lady's cat. I paid for the head such that I would be protected from dying before returning to my home country.
In the evening the Gendarmes (army police) newly installed in Adame called Ephrem in. Ephrem thought they suspected him of growing drugs, so he asked me to come testify that he was not a bad person. (That was not at all what they called him for.)
At night I ate the rest of the cat. The meat was decent, but the head was tricky. The face was stuck wide open in a howl. The skin and ears were all right, and the tongue was nice and chewy. But unlike fish eyes which are also chewy and good, the cat eye exploded in my mouth with a tasteless yet repulsive liquid. I couldn't figure out how to get through the skull to the brains if I wanted to.