nelaw: to sleep

On my first night in Sangako, Madeleine and I head to sleep at 9:45pm, exhausted by the day—by the extraordinary heat, by the stinging dust, by the effort of getting to know a whole new family and village. We are so filthy, our skin sticky and covered in layers of dirt. We crawl into bed, a mat on the ground of a tiny straw-covered hut, and lower the mosquito net around us, grateful for a bed and the fact that it is finally nighttime. Little bugs nibble at our sweaty skin.
Madeleine falls asleep quickly, but I cannot. The hut is suffocatingly hot, the heat still over a hundred degrees. The two doors to the hut are locked and shut, and not a single breeze blows across my skin. There is no coolness in the air, not anywhere, even though I am stripped down to my underwear. As the mat beneath me dampens with my sweat, I can’t take it anymore. I sit up in bed, knees bent, so that the most amount of air can touch my skin and cool me down. I sit that way for what seems like hours, trying to meditate, think of stories, anything to take my mind of off the oppressive, oppressive heat. And it is hours, because when I next check my phone, it is nearly midnight.

I’m not going to get a wink of sleep, I think desperately. The idea of facing the new day, the new heat, without any sleep is terrifying. Please go to sleep, I beg my brain. Or at least let it be morning so I don’t have to sit here like this anymore!

And yet, somehow, I fall asleep. And when we wake up in the morning, it is a whole new Sangako—still hot, still dusty, but the dust storm has gone away, the hot wind has died down, and the new morning has dawned.



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