Friday, February 27, 2009

This post goes out to all the animals in our life.

First, the chickens.
So, the first time someone gave us a chicken, it was at the end of a painful day. The day was not hard, it was just long because our local contact had not ridden a bike in 9 years (so he says) and so after sprinting to the first two boreholes of the day, he pretty much died. I’m serious, he walked his bike for long periods of time and that was not much slower than his riding pace! Plus, he is an assembly man (I guess kind of like a Representative) and so had to stop to talk to ev-ry-one. Man, it took all day, but he was very nice so it was all good. Anyway, at the last borehole of the day, while he was panting (a.k.a. slowly begging death to come and rip the life from his body) under a tree, he told us to “wait small” because his friend was coming. All of a sudden we see this guy walking towards us with a chicken in his hands at which point Mo leaned over to whisper “Oh man, please don’t let that be for us.” But, of course it was. So our contact is tying the legs of the chicken together telling us how they want us to have this chicken and Mo is trying to explain “But we don’t eat meat, please you keep it” to which the reply was, “Oh! Don’t worry, it’s a chicken, just make soup with it!” Hmmm. So first they wanted to just “hang” it off my handlebars, but I blackballed that idea real quick, so we tied him to the back of Mo’s bike (on the rack) and every time he hit a bump the thing squawked and we would apologize to her. We brought her home, untied her in the house because we wanted to feed her and give her water, because then she would be our friend, before we set her loose behind our house. Of course, as soon as we placed her on the floor, she produced one huge shit on the floor, did not like our food or water, and was put outside. She still hangs around the house, but does not come when we try to feed her. Then, just this week we received a rooster and the story repeated itself. The rooster actually hangs around and lets us feed him, but the guinea fowls of the area are like a major gang or something because they attacked our poor rooster one day. Of course, Mo and I went running out of the house to chase the guinea fowls away---I’m sure our neighbors are having a good laugh at us.
Now the insects.
Not pictured are the ants that I have been battling in the kitchen (and let me tell you, I am losing big time). The other morning Mo and I got up for a day of work and I lifted my coffee cup off of the counter where it was set to dry overnight and there were hundreds of ants and their little larvae underneath it. I quickly put it back down on top of them all and shouted for Mo. Thousands and thousands of ants had moved in underneath our dishes overnight---it was gross AND since they were underneath our coffee mugs, we were forced to deal with the situation before our morning cup of Nescafe. The whole thing was repulsive---we poured boiling water over all the dishes afterwards.

Now the creature in the picture, but first the backstory. So these little weird flying ant type bugs come in through the ceiling at night if we put the light on and, honestly, I find them so gross. They are like little ant larvae but with wings (termites maybe?), so I force Mo to turn off the light while we watch or read off the computer at night. Soooo, this one night I convinced him to leave the light off while we watched some Soprano’s and afterwards I was off to bed so I flipped the light back on for him and on the wall was the biggest, hairiest spider I ever saw outside of the zoo. Of course the first thing I say is, “I’m going to go get Ai!” I run off to her room and drag her into the living room to show her but she will not get closer than 10 feet and she starts scratching like she has fleas and all she can say is “oooooh. . . nooooo!” over and over and over again. Now it is time for a house vote: I say I don’t care, but don’t kill it, Mo says leave it and Ai just shakes her head, scratches her arm and says “oooooh. . . nooooo!” She does not have a mosquito net anymore, and so says she will not sleep knowing that it could crawl across her at night and goes outside to find a young boy to get rid of it---but Mo and I tell her he is just going to kill it. So she runs to her room and comes back with a box that we (by “we” I mean Mo, of course) manage to get the spider into and throw outside. The hand next to the spider—yep, it’s mine (I’m brave).

Finally the baby animals.
There was a baby goat on our porch the other day that seemed to be a loner without a mama (the mothers usually stay very close to the newborns and if you pick one up, they just kind of stare at you and will follow you until you put their baby back down, it’s how Ghanaians catch some of the adults for slaughter—using the babies as bait.). So, Mo picked up the baby to snuggle and no mama came to his rescue. Now we are convinced that it has no mama (or mama was last night’s dinner?) because every goat it tries to follow butts it away. It was so painful because little goat cries sound like small children crying and this goat would just walk around our house crying all day long. . .almost made us cry. At this point we decide we cannot let him starve (although feeding him is just fattening him up for someone else’s belly. . .it was a real moral dilemma). We tried to feed it (I guess baby goats don’t like cabbage) and follow it around. Finally, 3 days later, we see it feeding at some mama, so we are no longer worried. I know we have mentioned Mo’s obsession with handling other people’s livestock, well, he now has dragged me into that club. Those two lovely baby goats in our arms are two new twins born only a few days ago (I think they like us).

The tree is a picture of a perfect looking mango tree---it’s almost mango time and I cannot wait! A few more weeks and my mango addiction will start again!

Today (Feb 26th) was our last day in the last zone, and so unofficially we are done, but we are not ready to call it yet. We have a bunch of gaps that I want to try and fill in and then we have to sample the capped wells in some areas to compare values. Friday and Saturday I am spending in Feo with Ai doing another borehole usage count.

M: One thing I’d like to mention to those of you who regularly pedal a bike is that, unfortunately, half-wheeling faster-than-thou masochists exist in Ghana as well. The first time it happened, or at least the first day we noticed it, was not long after the day I was mistaken for a woman twenty times or so. On our way back from Bolga, Katie and I, riding at what we would consider a leisurely pace, came up to a man who was dressed like a waiter for one of the local restaurants. He was either on his way to or from work when we greeted and passed him. Not five seconds after he returned the greeting he was passing us back up. While I was content with chalking that up to his being late for something, when he got a 10-second gap on us, he began slowing again. We passed him, again. He sped up and passed us, again. I think you know how this plays out for, oh, a mile. Pissed, Katie and I looked to each other, authorizing the ensuing onslaught of well-developed muscle groups intent on one thing: putting this chauvinist (male, Ghanaian, or otherwise) in his place.
While at the time I deeply regretted having to rip his legs off, I have come to peace with our ego-driven exploit since each and every time we’re on our bike we come across some bozo pedaling a dinky little singlespeed step-though shitpile of a bike picked from the bottom of the last container from China who has something to prove. Frankly, it’s annoying, especially since they only do it because we’re foreign women passing him (and here I use the gendered pronoun because women never participate in this type of behavior). We’ve come a long way, baby (but please don’t start smoking).

1 comment:

tadpole said...

YES!!!! Imagine Andrew telling me this story just as if he witnessed it firsthand and me dying from laughter. And the animal stories rule. I almost want you to stay in Ghana longer so you can have more stories. But come home safe as soon as you want. And maybe to San Diego for as long as you'd like!