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What I learnt last week in the field… April 2, 2007

Posted 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.



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