Sunday, 4 December 2011

On why 2 minutes is never 2 minutes in Africa and why you must always travel with ear plugs, string and a universal plug

1st catch of the day.

You will be pleased to hear that Zac is much better; but he did have a nasty chest infection.  I started him on Azithromycin after 4 days of high fever and, bad mother that I am, I finally listened to his chest on day 7 of him being ill.  Imagine my surprise to hear that he had right basal crepitations – that’s crackly cornflake crunchy noises to you non-medics – signifying infection in his right lower lung.  Fortunately, the antibiotics worked quickly and after another few sleepless nights for us with Zac elbowing us in our bed and coughing all night he is now right as rain. I then had an odd fluey bug with headache, 

achiness and extreme tiredness on Thursday and Friday but am also much better now.  Our other night time companions are bush babies cough howling, wild dogs making such a child like crying noise that last night I pulled out my Muffles ear plugs and ran into the boys room wondering who had had a bad dream to find them both fast asleep.  Then from 1.30am onwards the cockerel struts his stuff cock a doodle doing at top decibels – I thought this only happened at dawn but clearly not.Anyhow, I was going to tell you about when Zac, Josh, myself, Julia – a German medical student and Maria a Finnish physio student, went to town for breakfast the day Aaron was running the Hash.  

Eat it or let it go? Never too sure where his next meal is
coming from, Zac faces another African quandary!
We had a lovely breakfast at the top Mazungu (foreigner) frequented coffee shop where the boys had Nutella crepés and ran round terrorising everyone. Later we trailed round town in the mid-day heat collecting Julia’s clothes from the tailor and buying new mosquito nets for the boys.  This was followed by a long walk in the heat to the craft village where Julia was picking up the bookends she had had made for her Mother.  Julia reminds me of me 20 years ago collecting all sorts of heavy ethnic objects (tat..aht) from every country I visited.  Like Proust’s madeline cake, the wood-carvings prompted the memory of George my huge wooden giraffe which I carefully carried around South Africa.   I can still remember the silence that fell over the occupants of the airport departure lounge restaurant as everyone watched George topple very slowly and then the collective ‘Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh’ as everyone watched as his neck cracked and head fell off!  I found some sellotape for cursory first aid but he was never quite the same.  I am not sure what happened to George – I suspect during a move he was a casualty of Aaron’s ethnic ‘tat clearout.

The boys had a great time running round the craft village choosing paintings they wanted for Chanukah and multi-coloured soapstone hippos and wooden animals.  We then had to wait and wait in the sun as first the wood craftsman was not there and when he did appear with the bookends they hadn’t been stained.  One of his colleagues told us not to worry and that he would get some stain and be back in 2 minutes.  The 2 minutes stretched to 20 minutes and the boys got hotter and hotter and more and more grouchy.  I said to them “not to worry that in Africa 2 minutes was never 2 minutes” and all the craftsmen thought this was hilarious.

We are still struggling with leaky u bends on all our sinks and have to rush round with our one mop bucket.  We have reported this and are waiting for the engineer to come “ maybe Monday”, “ maybe Friday”… It is amazing how much you take for granted in England.  Everything here is washed by hand in a leaky sink and then hung out to dry outside in the sun.  I wish I had brought the universal plug I used to carry everywhere in my backpacker days!  Unlike in England, everything here has to be ironed due to mango fly.  This delightful creature is the maggot of the exotically named ‘cordylobia antropophaga’ fly. This fly likes to lay its eggs in wet warm clothes and these then hatch into larvae that can burrow into your skin leaving a lovely boil…which is nice!

1 comment:

  1. Memory is playing tricks on you. George, neck repaired with super glue, lived with us, in the box room, for many years after his journey from Africa. He kept toppling over because his broken neck clearly affected his balance. Eventually he was repatriated or put down, but after many, many years. Wendy and David