Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rural living and pit latrines.




Why does it seem that even though I have been here once before, I still packed all the wrong things? My clothes all feel too big, too hot, too ugly. My first aid kit lacks alcohol, peroxide, enough gauze, Tylenol and such. The three or four phrases Mo and I have since learned in Frafra are still not enough to talk to either the children or Faustina’s parents, all of whom do not speak that much English. The children have learned from us a few phrases in English “Kate” and “M-O, Mo” which they greet us with and shout outside our window when they want us to open the curtain so they can stare at us. We go outside to try to play with them and they tease each other in Frafra about wanting to be my husband or Mo’s wife (at least I think this is what they are saying since all I can understand is “poka,” wife and “saylor,” husband (spelt phonetically)) and outside of that we stare at each other and use the most basic phrases in our respective languages only to get no where. We need to learn more Frafra! I did learn two new useful words....no and thank you (mposia).

Mo and I have made two exceptional little friends, Hoondy, the dog, and Akeenya, the little four year old. Akeenya just wants to sit near us and walk near us, much like Hoondy does (who I suspect only speaks Frafra as well). Oh yea...and Akeenya places everything he finds in his mouth. I spent the other afternoon taking rocks and pebbles and dirty gross plastic out of his mouth, fingers though (as you can see from the picture) were out of my control.

This past Friday it rained all day long, or at least all working day long, meaning that the rain stopped at about 2:30pm, long enough for Mo and I to run to the market (“da”) and purchase some lunch ingredients: tomatoes, onion, bread....mmmm...lunch of champions. I guess really do not understand how long dry beans take to cook without my pressure cooker, and so for lunch we had crunchy curry bean stew over rice (back off boys...I’m taken!). Next time I will try soaking them overnight.

But some things are still the same. I was just outside checking my laundry and one of the little boys put a dead moth on Helen and she ran around screaming. Even with all the bugs and sleeping outdoors, it’s somewhat comforting to see a dry moth get the standard reaction! It’s strange being so completely cut off from the news of the world. Mo and I tried to read the NYtimesn website for some news when we last used the internet, but four stories were about all we could open in a half an hour (Palin and her pipeline, Bush allowing raids in Pakistan, Iraq canceling six no bid contracts, and the scandals of the interior department). There is only one TV station that does largely play the news, but no longer receives BBC broadcasting, and is often broadcast in Twi. The news is still reporting stories that happened three weeks ago, the latest football scores, and calling for a peaceful election.

Mo and I talked about how we missed the little things like toast, and food without meat and/or fish. I miss green leafy vegetables, or let’s just say all vegetables in general minus tomatoes, onions, and okra. I am excited to get my boxes and start working. We go to the embassy on the 23rd of this month, so October should be nice and busy. I can’t say that I did not expect this...it’s pretty much on par with the pace I expected...but expecting and experiencing are different. While my reading all day has now come to include one of the four chemistry textbooks I brought...I still feel lazy. I know back at home people are going to work and to class....and I am laying under the fan trying not to sweat too much so I can wear the same shirt tomorrow and not smell too bad.

Our two Japanese friends here (Rie and Ai...pronounced “Lee-aa” and “Eye”) are great. They are JICA volunteers, which is the Japanese equivalent to the Peace Corp. They cooked us a Japanese meal this past weekend, it was awesome. Ai is in her last 6 months of her assignment and Rie is in the firs 6 of hers. Typically, Jico spend 2 years on assignment. It’s nice having other foreigners to talk with...somehow they can better relate.

I guess it’s my turn now. . . I’m kinda rushing because I didn’t do this beforehand and we’re now paying for internet time as I type. I promise that next time I will be better prepared. I think Katie pretty much covered everything new under the sun. It has been raining at least once a day for the entire time we have been in Bongo, which doesn’t really put a damper on anything because we, like the Ghanaians, have decided to cease all activities that can be construed as constructive during times of precipitation. Seriously, it rained on a Friday morning and no one went to work. NICE!! Also, I am apparently the husband of two 12-year-old twins and a 40-year-old-drunk lady. DOUBLY NICE! Okay. . . now
go read this book. . . it’s pretty amazing. Later.

2 comments:

songspell said...

Hey! Glad to know you got there OK.

I looked up cooking information for beans for you (for "stove top" cooking). I hope this helps. Apparently, you almost always want to soak them first.

"Place the drained beans into a large pot or Dutch oven and cover with 6 cups fresh water for each pound (2 cups) of beans, or to about one inch above the beans. Add 1 to 2 Tablespoons oil (to prevent boiling over) and seasonings as desired. Bring the beans to a boil, reduce the heat, then cover and simmer until beans are tender. This takes 30 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the bean variety. Check the beans occasionally to see if they are covered with the cooking liquid. If there is so much liquid absorption and evaporation that the top of the beans becomes exposed, add very hot tap water to the pot to cover the beans.

When dried beans boil, a foam forms on the top of the cooking liquid. This foam is water-soluble protein released from the beans and it will be absorbed back into the bean cooking liquid. It is not necessary to remove the foam. (To keep the foam down when cooking beans, add 1 Tablespoon of butter, drippings (consider flavor), or vegetable salad oil, for each cup of beans.)"

And here's some cooking times. I don't know what kind of beans you are using...

Beans (soaked)
Black Beans 1 to 1½ Hrs.
Garbanzo Beans 1 to 1½ Hrs.
Great Northerns 1 to 1½ Hrs.
Lima Beans, Large 45 to 60 Min.
Lima Beans, Baby 1 Hr.
Navy or Small Whites 1 to 1½ Hrs
Pink Beans 1 to 1½ Hrs
Pinto Beans 1 to 1½ Hrs
Red Beans 1 to 1½ Hrs
Red Kidney Beans 1 to 1½ Hrs
Soybeans 3 Hours

Beans (not soaked)
Black-Eyed Peas 1 to 1½ Hrs.
Lentils 30 to 45 Min.
Split Peas, Green 30 to 45 Min.

tadpole said...

So, Andrew Woolley crashed hard at the velodrome last night. I was in the race with him, along with maybe 20 other category C riders. We were almost done with our 20-lap points race, all in a group about to take off for the final sprint and Andrew was kind of boxed in, wanting to take off early like he usually does. But two riders converged, their rear wheels pinballing his front wheel. We were near top speed but he fell like a champ, not taking anybody with him and only getting four scrapes but his steel top tub got a dent. I still came in like 4th from last, maybe better but I couldn't see. I won a t-shirt by leading a prize lap but I spent myself on that one.
Anyway, I was thinking about how you told me to get a fixed gear way back in 2005 and you were right. Maybe I wasn't ready though.