Monday, 9 March 2009

Saturday in Kagoro

The sound of my lavatory cistern filling woke me up bright and early and caused me to leap out of bed, buckets at the ready to make the most of running water. In the last week or so, our usually reliable water supply (always in the mornings and evenings, at least) has become a little more erratic which makes us nervous. Some neighbours have no water for days so that queues build up quickly at the standpipes outside our house and in the next compound. We hear rumours that big water trucks are coming and taking our water to Kafanchan...

So started a typical Saturday in Kagoro – particularly well given Sabine and Markus’s generous leaving party in Gidan Waya the previous night.. Maybe one day I will upload the video of me reciting the whole of Rappers’ Delight.. Perhaps one day...

NB don't try double-clicking the image - it's only a still....

Anyway – back to Saturday.

Once the bucket-filling chore was over and done with, Laurie, Dori and I reclined in the deck chairs on our ‘patio’ in the relative cool with our cups of tea and coffee and prepared for the day ahead which promised Kagoro market shopping with Mallama Victoria (our Hausa teacher) followed by a master class in preparing yam porridge.

Victoria was due around 10:00 so we bathed and prepared for her (always prompt) arrival. Laurie stayed home to clean up the backyard (a.k.a. entertaining the local kids) whilst Dori and I made our way to the market.

Laurie clears and burns the trash before the kids, animals and wind can get to it and distribute it round the yard once again.

Dori and I set off towards the market, greeting everyone we meet and ‘snapping’ anyone that asks.

Our young friend Mary practices braiding on the porch of the not yet open hairdresser across the road from the Pink House (left)

Dori and I try to work out if we know these particular local kids? (below)
Dori tries (unsuccessfully) to get me to throw myself in front of the lorries taking our scarce water to Kafanchan

We arrived at the market relatively early when the buying and selling between wholesalers and retailers was still underway, and vegetables were being assembled for display (right).

We pass our good friend Linda (below) who sells pepe (chilli). We buy the chickens for the grill from her husband.

Whilst Dori and I are accomplished Kagoro market shoppers (negotiaters), Victoria knew what was on her list so we left her to the negotiations:

Victoria buys frozen fish, red palm oil in a ‘leather’ (plastic bag) and yams, which along with pepe, spinach, tomatoes, onions and the ubiquitous Maggi were the ingredients for our lovely dinner.

On the way out we pass Jumai, one of Fantsuam's microfinance clients from Zankan

We returned to rescue Laurie from ‘children of the corn’ who were surrounding her in the front yard, and Victoria and her sous-chefs Laurie and Dori started the chopping and boiling. I can’t give you the exact instructions – you know what they say about too many cooks.... I know the fish went in head, tail and all and that the palm oil had to be really smoking hot before you started cooking with it.. I squeezed fruit for fresh lemon juice and gave moral support....

Once all the ingredients were in the pot we took a short break to have a mineral and play ‘Bowling for Nuns’ (as Ronseal says: 'does what it says on the tin'). Having established on round two that there is quite a significant slope to our sitting room floor, I began to get into my stride and swept the floor with four strikes and some odd numbers, with Victoria coming in second.

Laurie and Dori tried to convince us that they were just ‘hustling’ and that money would be involved next time.. Vicki and I were not convinced. The girls then put it down to the fact that, as Catholics, they found it very difficult to knock down any nuns. We’ll see.... Unfortunately the four of us were so engrossed in the competition that we forgot to take any snaps – but I’ll put some in next time we play. I’ll also let you know if the results change.

Then it was time to chow down on our delicious fare which was very tasty although we could have done without the fish bones/head/tail.. I think we’ll be leaving those out next time.

After lunch/dinner we were so full we needed to relax, bathe and take some short siestas following which it was back to the chores: I was doing some video editing (more of that later) whilst the others pan-baked groundnuts prior to individually peeling them. A bottle of peeled peanuts costs 250 naira at Evans, our local Kafanchan ‘supermarket’. However we can buy one mudu’s worth at the market and fill over two bottles for 180 naira. We haven’t factored in the labour cost of individually peeling... yet.

We all thought we deserved a beer after that hectic activity so a quick trip to Jeffrey’s yielded three almost-cool Stars (it was a busy night at the bar) which we consumed, once again on our patio. Shortly after we spotted our good neighbour Mrs Aka’ahs in the adjacent compound and went over to greet her. We discovered that our neighbour and her husband were brothers. We never cease to be amazed at how everyone is related to someone else in Kagoro (and still all so healthy!).

OK - so the picture's from Christmas - I don't usually dress up for a drink in the back yard...

As the full moon rose over the mountain, we contemplated our peaceful night and retired before the children struck up their rendition of the Nigerian National Anthem: full moons mean a bright night which (all over the State) is an opportunity for the children to play and sing.

Arise O compatriots – Nigeria’s call obey!
Sunday gets better: cleaning the stone candles on the water filter, jogging and going to work – all before 09:30. On second thoughts let’s leave the Sunday blog for a more interesting Sunday. Abuja next weekend – who knows?


Anonymous said...

Hey Cecil,
Jared here - I thought you looked slightly overdressed for a few beers in the back garden....hehehe!
Gheez - that wrappers delight still photo looked like something out of Blaire Witch....hehehe just kidding. Great blog - I cannot quite imagine the nun game so you'll have to get some stills of that for sure....sounds very competitive and if it is anything like the old game of crocket that you seemed to excel at then you'll be a nun bowling champ....or whatever it was called....hehehe.
Looking forward to see some St Patty's day antics from Nigeria!
Love Jared xx

Anonymous said...



Hello Cicely! William has been keeping me informed and reports that you are having a wonderful time. I apologise for not having kept up to date with your adventures. It sounds as though you have "primitive" conditions. My earliest experience of a bathroom in India was a huge tub to contain the water, balanced on some flat stones, sheltering my companions - lovely, fat toads... Then of course, a large beaker to dip into the tub and to shower...
Take care. Love from Anne and Timothy, Ogmore By Sea.