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“the cows were quiet last night”

April 27, 2019

I was working with my Malagasy team in a small Toby (village open to those with special needs) back in the mid-1980s. This village was very poor which was why we were concentrating our efforts here. The way we did our work was set up tents right in the middle of the Toby and sleep in them for the week we were on site working on various things like housing, water supply, gardens, handicrafts, etc. Houses were made of what was available which was reed covered roofs and mud-covered reeds for the walls. They were not sound-proof.

Meals we’d share with those we were working with. So both my colleague, Noel, and I were surprised to hear the villagers asking each other during breakfast about how noisy the cows had been that night? Cows, we thought? There are no cows in this village as it’s far too poor to afford such a thing. There were cows in a neighboring village, but that was too far away to hear even on a quiet night.

So we talked to each other about it as the villagers said the cows hadn’t been too noisy which was good as they’d had trouble sleeping the night before. And then, seeing some very discreet sideways glances we realized the “cows” they were talking about were he and I and the noise was our snoring!

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