Wednesday, June 26, 2013

feeding myself is a problem

I miss take out.  I really do.  Take yesterday for example.  My daily feeding schedule was highly planned out—mango and oatmeal in the morning.  Popcorn for lunch.  My last 100 francs of bread with something for dinner. Or something like that.  

Instead. . . a quarter of my mango was funky.  It was a small one anyway.  Then I broke out a new box of oatmeal.  I’d just added peanut butter and hot water when I realized there was a mass exodus of little bugs from my bowl.  So much for my new box of oatmeal. I went ahead and started to eat what I’d made, bugs and all.  But it tasted funky. My cats are happy though.  So I had to have bread for breakfast.  I got really hungry later, so for lunch I went and got sardines and ate them with bread and this horseradish sauce I brought from the States last year.  And I made popcorn.  All was well until about 1930 when I realized I was getting hungry again.  I wasn’t motivated enough to make fake macaroni and cheese with spaghetti.  I seriously considered just taking 2 Benedryl and passing out till this morning, but I knew I would be biking into Kouka.  So I settled on couscous with horseradish sauce.  It seriously sounded really good.  Then I went over to hang out at Kodjo’s house for a bit for I ate.  His sister moved in with them after having family problems and sells booze from a basket outside her door.  Like a little bar.  A lot of my friends go there every evening to hang out, which suits Kodjo just fine since he’s one of the most extroverted people I’ve ever met.  Anyway, I went over, had a flacon of Pastis, made fun of my friend who was talking about how cold it was, smoked one of my last cigars, played with the puppies, contemplated feeding myself, etc.  Then Kodjo was like “so Mama Joseph made pate, want some?”  He calls his wife Mama - the name of her latest son. I knew that he’d just butchered a pig a couple days ago to sell, and so that the pate would include pork sauce, but I was so hungry, and buzzed from Pastis, that I didn’t care. The sauce was really good.  Then I went home and Adha gave me some pineapple—that I’d bought them in the marche on Sunday—and some peanuts.  Food crisis averted for the day.

Speaking of food, a lady selling apples just stopped by Bry’s house.  They are like bad granny smith apples, but beggars cant be choosers. 

Every morning I bike to Kouka now, I see classes of school kids out planting corn under their teachers’ supervision.  Not all teachers are on a government salary—many schools around here only have one government teacher.  All the others are “volunteer.” Which means they live on fees from the pupils’ families and they get their students to plant their fields so that they can feed themselves.  

Since it finally started raining regularly, people here are farming in earnest.  Ghanians came over with their tractors and 3-disc harrows to plow fields.  This is kind of funny to watch, at least for a farm kid like myself, from a distance.  The tractor guys get paid by the field, so they go as fast as they can.  They rev their tractors like race cars and pound through fields with their spotters hanging on for dear life.  Petite was a zombie on Sunday cause he was up all night supervising the plowing of his fields.  It saves a lot of time because it tears out the shrubby weeds that sprout early in the growing season, and it makes building corn rows easier.  I just try to stay out of the way. 

When Togolese butcher an animal, like a pig or a cow, they go all out.  There is no such thing as a "cut" of meat here.  They get knives, machetes, and axes and chop the whole thing, bones, entrails, head, into roughly equally sized pieces that they sell for 50 francs a piece. The trick to buying meat is to dig in the pile for chunks that have characteristics that you like-- like amount of skin/fat/gristle/bone, etc.  Or you can buy a hunk of stomach for your sauce and not have to worry about it. 

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