Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Meet the Neighbours

Sat here in the clinical whiteness of what I currently refer to as home, tap-tapping away the minutes before slumber seizes what’s left of my day and wittles October down by another degree or two, all to the disturbingly distressing bleating of the neighbour’s goat which arrived today, unheralded, and whose days, I suspect, are numbered … much like it was but only in the singular but now is to the tune of three. There’s foul play afoot and I don’t think it’s got anything to do with the chicken.

Most of the livestock that finds its way through the gates of my compound tends to end up cooked, unless of course you happen to be a lizard, in which case your demise is seldom celebrated in a culinary manner but instead you are lobbed over a wall into a festering pile of fester to be devoured by whatever passing beast finds its fancy tickled by the prospect of dead lizard.

Personally I don’t have issues with the lizards, in fact, as previously mentioned, the fact that they keep the dead insect count down means while I don’t lure them into my house, nor do I necessarily want to wake up to find one sharing my bed they do make the housework that much easier. Live and let lizard as they say ... clearly not in Fulfulde though where the maxim appears to be Kill it and eat it, unless you don’t want to, in which case just kill it. Not nearly as catchy but I suspect it loses something in the translation.

So, yes, the compound is now stalked by a goat whose days may just exceed those of the cockerel that turned up the day before. The last time there was a resident rooster was when I arrived back here post-summer and my morning slumber was disturbed by said cock’s ultimate cockadoodle-doodling after which it was well and truly cockadoodle-done. There was a chicken here a couple of weeks back but she barely lasted 12 hours, bought as she was to celebrate the return of the worlds most annoying laugh and the neighbours’ number 2 daughter whose frankly quite tiresome and distinctly clichéd crying at bathtime had been conveniently wiped from my memory.

As part of the ongoing cultural exchange twixt yours truly and the local populace I couldn’t let the opportunity pass and so spent a good twenty minutes explaining the intricacies of “second child syndrome” ... the neighbourette seemed convinced but then she is living with the dictionary definition so I don’t think that’s that surprising. The constant wail, the lack of any coherent vocabulary and the cataracts of snot that grace her permanently bawling maw do little to endear her to anyone it seems but the multitude of things that go ‘bzzz’ and her immediate family. Her penchant for dropping her shopping wherever the feeling strikes is admirable in its brazeness but it makes the morning trip from front door to exit of compound something that one must negotiate with a great deal of skill at a level which is beyond my ability at silly o’clock in the morning. Thankfully thus far she appears to be donkey like in her performance and tends to keep close to their kitchen area which must do wonders for the family’s intestinal fauna. Best not think about it too much.

* * *

I’m now sat back in the olfactory assault zone also known as the Woila Cybercafé itself graced by another of Cameroon’s more sullen members of the fairer sex from whose massed ranks all those who find themselves working in a customer facing industry seem to be plucked. The one here is a little less sour-faced than her contemporary at the Sahel but not by a lot.

Service with a smile is a concept as foreign as plumbed in toilets and the words please and thank you. Actually service itself is pretty thin on the ground so guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.

As I said, sat in the olfactory assault zone of the Woila Cybercafé whose steps are graced by one of Maroua’s innumerable egg vendors and one whose accident quota is clearly quite high. The steps are strewn with baked on egg and the cadavers of a million and one flies which, for whatever reason, have decided to end their lives there. It’s not nice but it’s the fastest connection in town and vaguely reliable.

It’s Tuesday though and so I can’t stay long. The in town tasks have been achieved and now I must sally forth from whence I came … until the next time.


  1. Christo9:41 pm

    If only I vould think of something to say! ugh! Is that bit in the middle about 2nd child syndrome some sort of pent up description of what I was like? Oh no my secret is out.

  2. Anonymous8:42 pm

    Undoubtedly the short holiday we all enjoyed when you posted your "off the air" number has led to severe cranial flatulence. Your two recent blags ( aka blogs) were much enjoyed by the inmates of our local insanity hostelry at Carstairs. It seems that they too have an unusual focus on inverterbrates in their cells. It all sounds too much fun to be true. On the food front I look forward to Episode 2 -
    The Goat's revenge - The size of the livestock being imported seems to be growing. Will a small bullock fit in next time? Do you get to partake of any bits of said gastronomic excitement when the blood stained moment arrives? Remember the Wicker Man? May be you should beware of unusual amounts of food being brought to you to consume!
    There are some quite good recipes for Locust around - Protein lightly crisped in rice oil- I'm told is good for you - even it it does flutter a bit on the way down.
    Here, we now have frost, cold and rain- autumn skipped in favour of a longer winter. I'm told that the early arrival of the pink footed geese and more than the average number of Siskins in the Garden portend armageddon on the winter weather front - at least that's what Heather says. May not be what you want to hear- all this cold stuff , but here it is. No insects can live for long outside, in this temperature. Not without getting arthritis anyway. Mind you we need a good cold winter to kill the midges - or we'll all be getting Blue Tongue disease!
    Sounds as though you're really getting into the spirit of Africa now - NAAFI was the great supplier to the British Armed Forces abroad - its motto reigns there too I guess.
    Look forward to more cranial flatulence in due course
    Mower ( now in hibernation) man


Thank you for your comment. Thank you for your patience while we moderate.