Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Down on the farm

Tuesday November 13th

A standard day at school today except for a little bit of African ingenuity.  I am doing constructions with Form I, which is proving difficult because including mine the compasses pan out at about one between three.  That was why I was pleased when Niato turned up with the one shown below that he had cobbled together from a broken pair that he had found.  You’ve got to admire initiative.

As I’ve said before, I was born in a city and whilst not actually being totally removed from the countryside I had a very urban upbringing.  Certainly I knew what humans got up to long before I worked out what the birds and the bees did.  It has therefore been an education when I arrive home from school to sit outside my room and watch the hens do their laps around the various buildings.  I’d be the first to admit that as my eyes blur a little, I am like Marty’s friend Alex in the film Madagascar and only really see drumsticks running past, but I do take an interest in the ‘pecking order’ (ouch).  We now have two cockerels, four hens and a small number of chicks and the ‘Alpha Male’ is very much my insomniacal ‘friend’ who puffs his chest and inflates his neck feathers at the drop of a hat.  (Incidentally I realise now how people can live under the Heathrow Flight Path or next to the main Basingstoke railway line, as his night time crows are by no means as intrusive as they were.) The problem is the other poor male.  He obviously fancies one of the hens like mad as he is constantly sidling close to her when no one else is watching but if he dares to make that final approach there is a flash of talons a mighty peck and he is ‘seen off’ by ‘King Kong’ as they race off across the grass.  Honour is assumed to be satisfied and the master returns to his harem, only for the adventurous suitor to soon appear from another direction and risk life and limb for the sake of love, once again.

We did have fourteen chicks, but I don’t know if it’s down to Charles Darwin, an over aggressive father or simply poor husbandry on our part, but we are now down to four who are guarded fiercely by Momma especially when the young pretender decides that possible she will do as second prize.

A fairly ordinary day today so possibly time to address another of the questions posed by Caroline.  I hope you are not sitting down to a meal whilst checking the blog but the question concerns effluent.  Is this a problem?  Pangani does not have a sewerage system as such.  Most homes, and the school, seem to have a ‘long drop’ toilet, which is a very deep hole with squatting feet rests at the top, very similar to what you find in France. The sewerage then soaks away naturally.  The YMCA, which has flush toilets, has a septic tank which also disappears naturally although I am told that similar tanks in Boza village do sometimes need emptying and the contents are used as fertilizer in the surrounding forest.  So there you are; no pipes out into the sea so the beaches are blue flag graded.

And finally.  I am sure I have heard this name somewhere before.  Maybe they are a subsidiary of Fosters


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