Big Up from Aribinda

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ooooh, Camel meat!

One day in Belehedé, Christina, David, and I decided we were gonna get some goat meat. So, we went to Hussein's meat stand. But, lo and behold, they had la viande du chameau! We took a grip (about a dollars worth). I wanted to add it to the riz gras I was making. Then, we got a watermelon. Eating watermelon is quickly becoming my favorite thing to do when communing with other volunteers. Such a water-rich, sweet treat. I think drinking cold water's a treat now, hell! Hardly any refrigeration in the Sahel, let me tell you.

While munching watermelon, we realized it was our 4 month anniversary of being in-country. We also were happy because the night before, Oct 5, PC Burkina was supposed to be receiving its newest trainees for the small enterprise development and health sectors. So, we were no longer the greenest in-country. Watermelon and new trainees, all right. Plus, Camel meat.

Well, we all know camels are beasts of burden and the only reason you'd kill a camel was if there was something very wrong with it, or it dies of old age. Well, when we cooked it, it gave off a pretty nasty odor. We tasted it and it wasn't too bad. Then, we added it to the riz gras (literally, fat rice - it's delicious when tomato based and reeking of large amounts of cabbage and onion!). Shoulda stuck with the goat (which is dee-lish!). Yeah, the novelty of the eating camel quickly wore off when we realized it tasted like shit!

But yeah, volunteer life moves along. With teachers coming back for the upcoming année scolaire, I am realizing there are two cultures: villageois and fonctionnaire. All the languages being spoken, the lack of variety in my diet, and lots and lots of cows in Aribinda. La vache, c'est la vie de la Fulani. Hopefully more to come in December. Since I am in a place with no reliable or frequent transport (except my bike!), blog entries and such will be few and far between. Take care and more stories soon!


Iraqi Mojo said...

Great post, Mac. I've never had camel meat. I wonder why it tastes so bad. and I love watermelon too!

I like that new background pic.

Muhannad said...

Mac, I enjoyed reading this. You might like it too:

Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami have finally taken a long-overdue leap: they have formed the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) in an effort to break the ‘intellectual’ monopoly of the Middle East Studies Association of North Africa (MESA).

This is the tale of a band of revolutionaries who have escaped to a sanctuary where they shall be free to preach a new faith. Using an Islam-inspired parable, this is similar to the story of the early Muslims who broke away from the stranglehold of Quraysh tribe and its inflexible observances to the old pagan gods.

Lewis and Ajami are preaching a new way of looking at the Middle East, while MESA perpetuates all that is generic and insipid about how America understands that region—it’s tainted by Saudi financing to boot, just like Quraysh was beholden to the revenues that its deities brought to Mecca! But America and the world cannot afford to lounge around in the blissful lethargy of intellectual shallowness now that the jihadists of the Middle East—many of them Saudis or fueled with Saudi money—have declared their war and delivered their bomb-laden calling cards.

Naturally, the MESAists are up in arms against Lewis and Ajami, whom they accuse of heresy and witchcraft, having cast a spell on George Bush’s mind. The MESAists have shunned both Lewis and Ajami for decades but now find themselves threatened as this new faith gathers more force and its ranks are swelled by new believers. The MESA-allied blog-mob has broken out in agitation and denunciation!