Notes de l'auteur.-
- 1.-An old friend of mine, blessed by impressive, and unusual intellectual acuteness, has privately questioned the validity of my stories. You talk to four (4) people about something, you are going to get four (4) different stories, but my version will be the most fascinating, and therefore it must be true.
- 2.-Because of the acquisition of moustiquaires (mosquito nets), all future performances, by the Tanzanian Mosquitoes Symphony Orchestra, have been indefinitely cancelled.
Webster's dictionary defines nostalgia as a bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past, the condition of being homesick; I guess Ole G is suffering from "nostalgia", simply put: I miss "home", although in this particular, if not peculiar circumstance, "home" is not my birth country (Ayiti), but the United States of America, where I lived, and somewhat survived for more than twenty five (25) years. If home is where the heart is, mine would be split down the middle, with half beating in Ayiti, and its other counterpart in the States. These two (2) halves have different experiences, that have resulted in a whole, that is perfectly suited to my philosophy of life.
Speaking of waxing nostalgia, it is understandable that I would miss my loved ones, but for some obscure reasons, I miss NBC's Today Show, especially Al Roker's jolly morning weather report, somehow miss seeing the familiar faces on American television: the Obamas, the Clintons, and of course, I miss the 3 stooges, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and the ring leader Rush Limbaugh, certainly could not predict, that I would miss the Garden State Parkway, the Lincoln Tunnel...aaahhh! the pollution.
Sunday, 11 April, 2010.- Jumapili, tarehe kumi na moja Aprili, Elfu mbili na kumi (2010).-
Even Mr Bossa's matinal visit (7:30 am), could not disrupt the serenity of this tranquil Sunday, a day free of mist, and rain (clair de soleil), yesterday, we spent 5 hours, reviewing the personal references of all the job applicants, I am ecstatic to announce, that all the unadvertised, and advertised positions have been fulfilled. Just two (2) days in Arusha, and already a few situations have risen, that have left me flabbergasted to say the least, for example: it cannot possibly take one (1) month (30 days) to paint a house seven (7) rooms), and it may take me a lifetime, to fully comprehend why does it take over one (1) hour to grill a burger?
I am somewhat astounded, by the lack of professionalism, there aren't any licensed/certified plumbers or electricians, medical doctors are as rare as the precious Tanzanites stones, and it' is obvious, that the homes, and the apartment/commercial complexes, were not designed, nor built by architects, and engineers, yet the town has its share of licensed, certified, gwo dada (big butt) gardeners, and escapees from mental institutions, posing as licensed automobile drivers.
The insouciance of the Tanzanians is driving me "insane, bonkos, loco, and nuts" (just pick your favourite adjective), not a brusque insane, I am still three (3) train stop away from madness, but their pole pole (relax/chill) demeanour, their contemptuous nonchalance, is just a bit too much for an old negro like Ole G, these people do not speak (per se), they whisper in a docile, monotone voice, they move around in slow motion, even the soko (outdoor market) are quiet around here, who amongst you, has ever visited a quiet marché en plein air (outdoor market).
I am beguiled, bewildered, and bewitched by the surreal street scenarios, where else but in Arusha, can one actually witness the sight of a goat riding in the back of a piki piki/(motorcycle), better yet, who has ever seen two (2) guys transporting a twenty five (25) inches television set on a bicycle?, but when all is said, and done, life truly ain't that bad around here, that is if one does not mind living with mosquitoes, rocky remote dirt roads, inescapable dust, pedestrians with a casual attitude toward their safety, zandolit (lizards), switching water pumps, and generators on/off.
Warning: a long, and inconsistent story ahead.-
Sunday afternoon. - A pleasant family drive in the country side, I was enchanted by the wondrous views of the Moshi Valley, and since the idea of mimosas, Sundays, and brunch go hand in hand, we thought it would be a good idea to brunch, at a casually chic restaurant located in Moshi, a place where one can hold a convo while sipping a glass of wine, or a dry martini, a perennial favourite of Tanzanian families, splendorous views of majestic Mount Meru, and naturellement, It is in this exquisite, and sumptuous setting, that I committed my very first social gaffe in Afrika (Tanzania)...Please allow me to gather my thoughts, then allow me to tell you, about the cuisine.
Note: I am keenly aware, how many times, I have used the phrasal verb "allow".
Note 1.- Mount Meru is a mountain located in Tanzania, Arusha National Park,(elevation 14 980 ft.), It is the second (2nd) highest mountain in Tanzania, and the fifth (5th) highest in Afrika.
Tanzanian cuisine can be summarise in 2 words: Ugali, and Nyama choma.
Ugali: Corn maize, Polenta for Italian cuisine lovers, and the Tanzanian recipe is a three (3) steps polka dance: boil water, pour in Ugali, and Stir, DO NOT ADD any seasonings , or anything else that could make it edible, cook for maximum three (3) minutes. It is simply the most disgusting thing that I ever tasted (déguelasse), the South Afrikan name for it is pap, or mealie pap, Zimbabweans, call it sadza.
Nyama choma: a slab of meat, grilled or roasted, novice weaklings like me, eat the safe goat/beef nyama choma, but the locals, and the audacious, eat wild nyama choma (lions, monkeys, alligators ect...)
Notate bene: Nyama Choma is best enjoyed with a Tusker beer (Kenya), or a Tanzanian Kilimanjaro beer (Kili).
I placed my safe order of nyama choma goat, took a sip of my Kilimanjaro beer, then took a deep breath, and the most wonderful yet familiar aroma flattered my nostrils. I could not place it , but it smelt (smelled?) a little like tasso (fried goat). I kept taking deep breath, and turning my head to see where this delicious aroma was emanating. Sure enough, there it was, my platter of nyama choma goat being brought in by the waiter, and it was mine to devour.
I instinctively reached for the serviette, and cutleries, quickly realising that they were missing , I sheepishly told the waiter: "Pardon me, young man, apparently you have forgotten the cutleries...Ô misère, Ô malheur , monumental faux pas, the family sitting at the next table paused, smirked, laughed anba shal (laughing in one's sleeve), the young attentive waiter, almost dropped the food tray, I have just committed un crime de lèse majesté (crime of lese-majesty), any well-brought up Ayitian, know that you do not rest your coude (elbow) on the table while eating, but I truly did not know, that in Tanzania, it is considered an offence, a national insult to use cutleries (forks, and knives) while eating the national authentic dishes, upon hearing my request, the waiter panicked, rushed back to the kitchen, brouhaha in the resto's pantry, the whole staff went on a "cutleries finding mission" for the Mzungu, (Westerner) seated at table # 7, cutleries were found, may be in the voisinage (neighbourhood) , a dozen or so staff members walked slowly by our table, to take a peek at the wanna be Mzungu, eating à la fourchette, 4 scores ago, this offence was punishable by imprisonment , nowadays, a "Mzungu", who uses knives, and forks while sitting at the table, is a plain imbecile, and is famously and forever christened as L'idiot du village (the village's idiot). I had to surrender my badge of Euro Ayitian influenced table etiquette, and digged in, hands, and feet, still, I could not but think in a most humorous manner, of my adored father who often opined: Fiston, tes manières laissent à désirer (Son, your manners leave much to be desired).
Note: The Kiswahili word Mzungu, (Wazungu, pl.) means Westerner (s) or person (s) of European descent.
World Cup South Afrika 2010.- Afrika's delirium.- L'Afrique en délire-
Besides the dozen of (24/7) television stations dedicated solely to "Afrika Suni 2010", the debauchery, the bacchanal, the countless hit songs being played on the radio, and television stations, the below mentioned statement from one of the continent most respected scholar, left me pensive:
"...Every object - and every person - has a taboo name that functions as a password allowing you to enter and control that object. It is given that name as the final act in great ritual ceremonies, and sacrifices. "White people don't know the true name of Afrika, nor do they know the names of the Afrikan match ball or Afrikan stadia," said Tchegun. "How can they work effectively if they don't know what they are playing with, or who they have to play against?" According to Dr Tchegun, the die has already been cast - Afrika will win the World Cup..."
I would like to emphasise that these old forms of belief survive in all Afrikan societies (and even elsewhere in the world), not just the six (6) Afrikan countries who are sending their teams to the 2010 World Cup. From voodoo to shamanism, via Grima, and Ngouati in Cameroon, and the Central African pygmies, from the marabouts of the Sahel - the elders of the north - to the medicine men of the west, and the witch doctors of the central part of the continent: Afrika is overflowing with powerful, traditional spirituality. How might those forces be able to contribute to an Afrikan country becoming the world champion in South Afrika?
Note: Marabouts: Holy men in Northern Afrika, some considered them saints.
Shamanism: Beliefs regarding communication with the spiritual world.
It all seems to be as serious as ever. The World Cup is going to be a superb spectacle, a colorful mix of cultures, and cults. That is what Afrikan football is like. None of the countries will want to be beaten, and they will all be doing their utmost to win that one trophy.
My personal opinion, the best team will win the World Cup (what a revelation), of course it takes a bit of luck, isn't it ironic, that winners are always the lucky ones, a bounce ball here/there, a mistackle, a whistle happy referee, can make a difference, but the perennial favourites remain, I am not a shaman, do not wear any gris gris (grigri) , nor a Sangoma, but I can safely predict six (6) out of the Elite eight (8) teams: Spain, Germany, Brasil, Italy, Argentina, Portugal, 2 remaining spots on my list, six (6) Afrikan teams participating in SA 2010... Messieurs, Faites vos jeux ! JWE.
Gris Gris (grigri): Amulets worn for good luck.
Shaman: Practitioner of shamanism.
Sangoma: Practitioner of herbal medicine in Afrika Suni.