Tuesday, March 19, 2013

kiss me, I'm irish

Yesterday I ate dog and cat.  Not together, but on the same day.  This must be some kind of milestone.  For those of you engaged in the eternal cats vs dogs debate, cat meat is better.  Just this side of succulent. But dog stews really well and makes a wonderful broth. So it goes.

I just did something I never thought I would do—I biked into kouka after 1100.  During hot season.  To be fair, it is mostly overcast today, which is why movement outside of shade is possible.

I am typing this on my new keyboard.  it is silicon and rolls up into a bundle about the size of my fist.  it is really cool.  and nice to be able to use my own computer again.  

An ongoing mystery for me has, today, been solved.  Kids in villages lacking latrines, like mine, tend to crap just outside the house, or on the refuse piles between houses, or anywhere for that matter.  I have often walked out of my house to see a toddler popping a squat on my neighbor's little refuse hill.  One can judge consistency, it seems, from a distance.  Their older siblings and parents go into the teak groves to do their business.  Anyway, given the number of kids running around, and given the general lack of their leavings, I always wondered were kid poop went.  Today, I found out.  An elementary solution that should really have occurred to me earlier.  I was at someone’s house helping build an improved cook stove when I looked over the wall into the long-lashed eyes of a sow who was happily munching away on a pile of golden kid crap.  Pigs are almost as prevalent as kids. Mystery solved.  I’m never eating pork again.

I’ve been occupying the waning days of my Peace Corps service in village by waging a one-person campaign for improved cook stoves.  The traditional Togolese cooking method is to set a pot on 3 rocks with a fire underneath.  Not only is this horribly inefficient in terms of heat wastage but kids and animals can fall into the fire.  So, we encourage people to build improved cook stoves.  We mix up a bunch of clay, sand, and straw and build a wall around the traditional 3-rock design enclosing it and cut slots in the sides for chimneys.  This traps heat and thus reduces wood usage by at least a third.  Kids cannot fall into it, unless they are highly unlucky and highly talented.  Finally, improved cook stoves look pretty.  Women love them.  We build them a little shelf next to the stove so they can put stuff on it.  When I teach people how to build them I usually do one myself, then I make the people watching me do the others.  That way women learn how to do it and are confident enough to do it themselves.  Men tend to look at improved cook stoves as an income generating activity.

A friend of mine was walking home Sunday night and stepped on a snake. It bit him. Not that it did it much could cause my friend clobbered it.  I guess it wasnt a really dangerous snake cause he went to a traditional healer instead of to the hospital.  Petite said he’s back home now, recovering.  A Fulani in Kpolobal, a village just north of me didnt have the same luck.  He died the other day from a snake bite.  Kodjo told me that someone nearby killed a big viper last week. “We ate it.  It was good.”  Karma.

I am at the point where I will start trading my unborn children for 7 uninterrupted hours of sleep.

I was wandering around the marche Sunday (st. Patricks day) when I heard someone yelling my name.  This is usual on marche days as I am much more visible to my friends than they are to me.  This one was one of my zed friends; he waved me over to say hi.  When I got up to him I did a double take.  He was wearing a “Kiss me I’m Irish” Labette Blue tshirt.  I had to ask him if he had any clue what it meant.  He had no idea and was somewhat bemused at my enthusiasm over his shirt.  We went to a nearby tchouk stand where I explained to him what his shirt meant over a calabash.  Everyone thought it was pretty funny.  

Its kind of amazing the shirts/jerseys you can find here.  If I had a dollar for every time I saw a Dwight Howard Magic jersey or a Lebron James Cavaliers jersey or a Randy Moss Patriots jersey I’d be rich. 

I was biking into Kouka sunday and listening to music as I am wont to do.  Arriving in town, I decided to see what the rest of the world was saying.  I pull Metallica out of my ear in the middle of a little kid shrieking "yovo yovo anasara bonbon!"

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