Ramblings 14 Sept 2008


I can’t believe I haven’t written anything in over a week. The only business I have is self-made. I been reading. This time a story of the Mau Mau period in Kenya set just days before the Uhuru. Uhuru is when Kenya gained independance. The story goes between the present and the Emergeny when Kenya was fighting for independence. It is called “A Grain of Wheat” by Ngugi  Wa Thiong’o. It was first published in 1967, four years after Kenyan independence.

Now I am reading “The Fate of Africa; A History of Fifty Years of Independence” by Martin Meredith. This book was published in 2005 and received good reviews all around. I bought it for an overview of contemporary African history.  I am reading this book knowing that Meredith, an Englishman, has a certain bias towards a continent his countrymen colonized.  With that in mind I am enjoying learning about a continent I had very little knowledge of before. There are echos of the two books of fiction I have read in the parts about Senegal and Kenya. Meredith prefers to focus on the post colonial actrocities instead of those perpetuated by the colonizers that lead up to the movement for African independence.

I have also been taking photographs. For Jeanette I tried to take some photos of little yellow butterfiles. I have been learning the landscape and how to photograph dark faces. Fill flash! The flowers are out but they are so very small. My macro setting on my Canon rebel does a pretty good job of letting me get close enough. Yesterday I learned women around the world share common traits. I was on the savanah, taking photos of a favorite spot. A women walked along the path with a load of wood on her head. I greeted her and we communicated using my baby buili. Then I pantomimed taking her photos and asked if was all right. AIYA! she said  shaking her head and hand violently. Then she indicated her clothing and said “Kan Nala!” Like many American women she said “I am not dressed up enough for you to take my photo!” Literally she said  “not pretty.” I respected her wishes and hope to one day have enough buili to tell her that I wanted her as she was.

This morning I took photos of the boys dormitory construction project. On man spoke english very well and asked me where I was from and about America. I am not sure that I can educate even the people in this small village that America is not a place where everyone is rich and happy. I did try to explain yes they would get big money for construction work in America but they would also pay big money for everything they needed in America.  They were working very hard. They were using pick axes to dig trenches for the foundation of the new boys dormitory. I hope they were working early in the morning to aviod the heat of the day.

Goats. I can’t explain how happy the goats make me especially the newborns. They…. its…. they BOUNCE! They do and no just forwards but sideways and backwards. They are very spooky and I never mean to spook them but if I do the will jump inches into the air and bounce ff in whatever direction is away from me, regardless of the direction they were headed. And when I try to imitate their bleets and cries they come then look at me so strangley.

A cat has adopted me. She is a small grey tabby. So very affetionate. In the morning when I open my door she comes and cries until I come out. I do feed her some leftovers but she really likes me to sit on the cement and pat her. I have not heard her purr yet. I wonder if she can because when she is rubbing against me or I am patting her she seems very happy.

I am enjoying the last few days before school starts. Students will arrive tommorow. They will clean for a few days to a week then classes will start. Yes I am nervous.

Internet access is sketchy in town, mostly due to transportation issues. The day I had some time to spend checking out the internet cafe my bus came and I felt I had to get on. The buses are unpredictable so I take one when one is there. Lucky for me the internet cafe is right at the bus stop so I can go in and know when a bus is there. Using the internet cafe in town is one of my goals for the next week.

Today Ghanian cuisine met Mexican-Amercan.  At lunch I had Kenkey and salsa. The salsa had tomato paste as the base but I did have lime, onion, garlic and one small tomato, It was pretty tasty. If I add sugar to the tomato paste it’s a good base for sauces and salsa.  Then this evening I made garlic texas toast, refried beans and at most of the rest of the salsa. That was pretty good too.

I eat vegetarian quite often. There is canned tuna and I get a can aweek. it’s expensive 1 ghana cedi and 40 pesewas. Consider I can buy three whole fish for 1 Ghana Cedi and make three meals to the one I make out of the tuna. The tuna is in oil and is not albacore white that’s for sure! But with mayo and salt on some tea bread or sugar bread it feels almost like home!

I have tried another canned fish. Didn’t like it much. You could eat the bones but it just felt weird to me to eat them.

Another reason I eat vegetarian often is that the first time I bought beef they were slaughtering the cow right there in front of me. It was pretty grusome.  But really this cow had a much better life than almost any cow in America, They are truly free range. Usually the children are the herders. They bring the cow to pasture. Sometimes that pasture is right next to the computer lab at my school. The cows graze and then the kids check on them and bring them home.  But none the less I have a hard time thinking of going back to get more of “the beef” as they say here.

Goats on the other hand are tied to a stake in the pasture. They are more likely to wander off and to get lost but they have a long rope and really are not confined. Some goats roam around the house as well. The new borns are not tied at all because they stay right with the mother or near the goat house.

Chicken is another story all together. you buy it whole and either slaughter it and feather it yourself or have the butcher do it. He will also butcher it. Then you can keep it in your fridge or freezer but I don’t have a fridge or freezer yet. The cold store is supposed to have chicken pieces but i have yet to go there when they do. Chickens and guinnie fowl are also truly free range. They wander around the yard, the corn, the peanuts and any other fields they want. They return to the correct coup because the owners do feed them some grain to get them to come back.

I am very close to the food I eat. Barbara Kinsolver and her family should have come here for there year of eating locally.


%d bloggers like this: