Yep! That's right. How would you like to live in a place called "Toad"? Well, that's where we live. The town carries the name of Tera. In the Gourmantche language, the word Tera is a form of the word for "toad."And this is what Tera is named after: a famous city named after a lowly toad.
How did it get that name, you're probably asking? Well, the town was founded by the Gourma people many hundreds of years ago. The Gourma are an ethnic group who live next to the Songhai people and are sometimes embedded in Songhai territory. When the Gourma founded the town, they founded it on the banks of a seasonal river. Here is a picture of the river which flows right through the town of Tera.
The river is dry most of the year except for the rainy season. In the 1980's the Chinese built a big dam to hold back the water of the river and conserve it for watering plants and animals. Today we have a 4-mile long shallow lake behind that dam that provides water year round. (We're getting water for our plants from this dam--see my last blog and the part about our water shortage in Tera). Here's a picture of the lake:
Natrually there are many toads around this river. Though they don't like to be submerged in water, they like to stay where it's cool. On a breezy evening, we can hear the throaty croaking of the toads down by the river. They love to eat the insects that breed down there. The river is less than one-quarter of a mile from our house. Here is a picture of one of our African toads. Pretty, isn't he? Don't you just want to squeeze him? Actually they find our way into our house, our shoes, and our lives. They can be quite annoying, and I sometimes pick them up and throw them against the wall where they go splat.