What I learnt last week in the field… April 2, 2007Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Cows, Creatures, Gender, Namibia, Out of the city, Peculiarities.
– that animal blood left to solidify in a very cold fridge is very difficult to remove.
– that said blood can make a hot sealed room smell like an abattoir if left for more than 3 days.
– that the cleaning of said congealed blood from the fridge, fridge door, kitchen floor, wall and ceiling (did they have a fight with it?!) could reform a recently-lapsed vegetarian back to her non-meat-eating ways – err, apart from chicken.
– that cows can run amazingly fast .
– that a traditional Herero delicacy is sour milk, which is made through a similar process that I experienced as a student when some milk was left in the fridge for far too long, except without the fridge.
– That this sour milk leaves a decidedly putrid taste in the back of your mouth after consumption, similar to the one previously experienced at the front of your mouth when first tasted.
– that, unlike most African groups, Hereros buy their mealie meal (aka pap or nshima) from the supermarket instead of growing it.
– that a wheelbarrow is incredibly comfortable to sit in.
– that Herero children will never say thank you to an elder, even if you spend weeks preparing a fun field trip for them and then let them watch a movie.
– that it is very inappropriate for a real Herero woman to ride a horse.
– that a female Herero can become a woman by either: giving birth, getting married or maturing to a certain age.
– That I am not a real woman in Herero standards, and am unlikely to ever be accepted as one during my stay here (I can therefore ride a horse if I so choose).
– That the strength of eleven under-7s can push-start a pick-up truck on a flat sand road (especially impressive when most of them are too small to climb into the pick-up truck).
– That the kindergarten children (all under 5 years old) in Ovitoto walk themselves to and from the nursery, about 1 mile from where most of them live.
– That I will never get a grasp of the Otjiherero language, no matter how hard I try.
– That I am terrible at predicting the rain.
– That the African sense of time-keeping extends far beyond my comprehension or expectation.