Sunday, 19 September 2010

Random and Miscellaneous

4-12 September 2010
When I was writing my first blog post, I was in dilemma whether I should give titles to the posts. Because a title represents some central idea expressed throughout the text and whether it will be there always when I write it. After I wrote my first two posts, I found that both the posts could have a title of their own, I gave them and then finding appropriate titles for the posts became a part of the fun of writing.
For 9 consecutive days before writing this post, I was feeling the life has slowed down and nothing interesting was happening. This is partly because I got used to the life here so the initial excitement through which I was going is over. I realize it now while writing it that it might not be very exciting but things are happening anyway and they have significance. It is worth writing about them though they are random and miscellaneous.
There is a big tree on the main road in Bolgatanga opposite the site of three petrol stations which is a big nesting site for vultures. One can see many vultures in Bongo as well on a tree near lorry station. In India, majority of the people do not like them since they associate them with bad spirits. Back home they are on the verge of extinction due to a disease caused as an effect of chemical residues entering their bodies after feeding on animal carcasses and also due to the loss their habitats. Here in Ghana it seems they are having very good time however. People are not vegetarian here and butchers are welcome to open their shops anywhere. Meat waste is easily available for the vultures. Most of the meat is free from those deadly chemical residues. People do not associate them with any bad spirits but I suspect they might be liking these creatures because they are cleaning the wastes from the meat shops, which otherwise would have caused health hazards .
These days when I walk on the streets of Bongo, very few people approach me with pleas for help. Perhaps the news has spread that I am a stingy Solemiya (white man). I have learned the techniques of avoiding these types of people to some extent. I have set myself a limit on the money which should be given to beggars and the people who come across with the pleas for help. Actually after visiting the villages here, I realized that the situation is really distressed and it is really not bad to give some money to needy especially women and disabled who are likely to spend it on some food but certainly not to able bodied men because they are most likely to go immediately to nearest Pito (local alcoholic brew made from millets) bar and drain it off.
The initial joy of getting greeted by the children playing on the streets by their calls, "Solemiya welcome!" is now really fading away. There is a bunch of children who are always playing near the corner of the street of my house and they say this phrase daily after seeing me. It seems this is the only thing which they can say to me. Once on an evening one of the relatively brighter kid greeted me saying “Good Morning!". I liked that because it was something different than their usual words. I tried to correct them by telling that it was evening but they all kept on looking at me as if I was talking some alien tongue. It seems with every family having 4-5 children there is explosion of population here and young kids are everywhere on the street. For a non black like me, getting out on the street means getting prepared for hearing this phrase for so many times that you just lose its importance.
I did not expect that there will be good Community Based Organization (CBO) here after seeing the way promotional approaches are adopted by the governmental and non governmental organization in the name of participation. As part of my work I have been engaged with a very good CBO with very active, self driven and dedicated body of its members. It is the Guinea fowl Farmers Federation of Bongo District. I think they have great potential and they can really spearhead the intervention of Guinea fowl rearing in the district and also in the region. When I expected to do some field observations on the Guinea fowl farmers with the help of Agriculture department personnel, the federation people themselves came forward and took me to the field in the villages.
I had gone to Bolgatanga to access internet and I stayed at Rose's place for the night. My VSO friend Jemimah from Uganda did not know that I shall be visiting Rose. She had brought Chapati and vegetable cooked in Indian style. She said there are so many Indians in Uganda and due to them Chapati and vegetable are popular with Ugandans as well. She rolls Chapati with an empty beer bottle. I realized that I ate roti after two and half months. I told her that there is a proverb in Hindi which says if you are getting the food then your name must have been written on that food (by the God, दाने दाने पे लिखा है, खानेवाले का नाम) and though she had not made it for me, my name was written on it and I got to eat it. She told me that there is some similar proverb in her Ugandan dialect too.
As I am writing about my favourite subject of food, Gani, son of my neighbour peeked in the house and I talked with him for a while. This is not any miscellaneous thing but something which I am writing incidentally. They are going to shift to Brong Ahafo region which is far from here and culturally and geographically falls in the southern part. His father was telling me two days before how unhappy he was for his transfer since he had been living in the town for 15 years. Though he comes from Upper West Region, he has been quite attached to this place. They had planted some crops around and are now distributing some of the premature harvests to their neighbours and as a result I got some corn.
He and his wife were always very helpful to me and always watchful about the house when I was not around. I shall be losing a very good neighbour. Now I don't know if I would get any new neighbour and if I get would he be as good natured as him. I was asking the boy what did he eat throughout the day. They ate millet porridge for the breakfast and rice with fish stew for lunch. “Will you be having Fufu for the dinner?” I asked the boy as I heard the sound of pounding. “Yes, with groundnut soup,” the boy answered promptly. After two days I shall no longer hear this sound of pounding Fufu and Gani will not come to peek in the house.