Saturday, August 7, 2010

Life in the Village

Here are a few more snapshots from the homestead.

This is what the cupboard in my room looks like most days. I compartmentalized all my foodstuffs: candy, vitamins, peanut butter jars, apples, granola bars. Apples and Peanut Butter for breakfast, apples and peanut butter for a snack after school, and if dinner wasn't fulfilling, apples and peanut butter for late-night noshing.

In Oshakati there is a big open market. The vendors don't really sell crafts because there are rarely tourists, but instead you can find for sale, live chickens, second-hand bras and underwear, goat meat 'fresh' off the barbeque, and several memes who sew dresses. On a whim one day I stopped there before getting a taxi back to Tsandi and bought a dress for meme Emilia for N$100 (about $15 USD) which was one of the best purchases I've ever made. She absolutely loved it! She made a big show of appreciation and even did the traditional ululation reserved for very joyous occasions. So I think I'll be stopping there again some time before I leave. One of her friends is on the left and Meme Emilia is on the right in her new digs.

One Saturday afternoon, Meme Wakamba (a neighbor who has at least 5 kids in various grades at Elamba) came over to visit and also to help Meme Emilia brew omalovu, the traditional beer. Lunch was included and I had her pose with a nice juicy piece of pumpkin.

I love this picture: Both memes are in mid-speech as they work together on their craft. They are using flexible wet bark strips to tie together dried grass that will eventually produce a funnel-shaped device. After boiling a mixture of water, sugar, and sorghum flour, they pour it into the strainer so as to remove the pulpy sorghum leaving behind the drinkable alcoholic beverage loved by many a villager.

Here are the two methods of straining in action. The left one is an example of the traditional grass strainer that they were making. The one on the right is just an old sack that does the trick quite nicely although I like the traditional method better.

Meme Wakamba and some buckets of omalovu. She is my favorite meme besides Emilia and she comes to visit often. She also wove a really nice basket for me as a gift so in return I'm printing out some of these photos for her.

After school one day, here is what I saw when I came home: Meme and Hare

One of the village boys had caught a hare in a snare and meme paid him N$20 for it. So as I was walking up the path to the front door I saw Meme and Niita surrounded by all this white stuff and didn't realize it was fur until I was close.

Look at those ears!!

First they pull out as much fur as they can and then roast it on the fire to burn off the remaining tufts. Then it was chopped up and cooked. I have to admit, that as much as I love the Redwall books where hares are my favorite characters due to their comical and heroic nature, that as many fond memories I have of my pet rabbit Hopper, that as much of an animal lover I am, I was fascinated by the whole process and the final product was the best meat I have ever had. That one hare provided for three sumptuous nights of meaty feasting.

Tillie (till ee ay) with the latest puppy. I am trying not to get attached to the cuddly little bugger because I don't have much hope for it's survival as this is the seventh or eight in a series, none of which have lasted for more than 3 months before they've bitten the proverbial dust due to malnutrition and general lack of attention. (Hah, I just reread that and I want to make sure you all know I was talking about dogs and not children) Tillie is just fine except that the other day she fell on a brick and cut her face. That black spot under her eye is fireplace residue that they put on in a medically misguided attempt to heal the wound.

We have tabacco plants all over the homestead. Meme picked some to dry and she will sell a handful to neighbors for N$1. Some people smoke others snuff. Here's a bunch drying on the roof of a hut.

Here are some plants in the 'hallway' to the front door .

Girls spend hours and hours on their hair, braiding and rebraiding it in various styles. It always amuses me to see girls at school midway through the process with half of their hair in nice neat rows and the other half in a semi-tamed afro. Methano ndino, Mwiingona ota panda Petrina

Peace, Paka

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