This might be one of my Top 5 "Yes, I'm really in Africa" experiences.
The orphanage that we stayed at in Sinoe had grass mat walls, no ceiling, low inside walls and a thatch roof. Let's just say, you hear EVERYTHING! As Deb and I laid in bed on our first night, wondering when the gathering of men in the main room would be quiet and go to sleep, Deb blurted out "what was that?!". I didn't see anything, so I had no idea. Then she started dying laughing. Very unconvincingly she said, "it's just a shadow...it was just a shadow...yes, let's just tell ourselves it was a shadow." Then she confessed...it wasn't a shadow, it was a rat, running around on the sticks (beams) above our head. We decided (or convinced ourselves) that since we tucked in our mosquito net, we would be safe from the rats. Then the clucking, screaming and squawking of roosters and hens began.
Awhile later I became conscious of dogs growling and snorting to my right. By the time I figured out what was going on, the old papie was outside shoo-ing away the pigs from the dogs. The pigs had escaped their pen. All night long, when the snorting got close to the house, the papie was back outside shoo-ing.
And then, at dark o'clock, I was woken up by the loudest rooster I've heard in my life...and in my half-asleep state, I was trying to figure out how it could be right next to my head. Then I realized that the rooster was outside, just on the other side of the grass mat, next to my head. By this time (before 5am), the firewood was being chopped and the pots were being clanked to prepare for cooking...five feet from my head, on the other side of the wall. By this time, I gave up on sleep.
I untucked my net by my feet and slide out of bed. I grabbed my long-sleeved shirt and took a walk out back to go to the bathroom (no bathroom facilities here). When I came back into my room, I realized why there was so much racket last night. I died laughing. This is what I found...
Only in Africa!