Monday, March 16, 2009

desperate measures...

(pic by safari craig)

right people. time to get back to basics.none of this rambling blahdeeblah deeblah nostalgic blah.

back to The Pink House On The Hill. covered in dust. still flipping waiting for rain. there is nothing. absolutely nothing. even the aloes are wilting. just bare brown earth. and a relentless wind. everyday the hill is covered in herds from the bald valley below. there is no grazing left down there. the land lies brown and ploughed and baked. the wind hurls dust around - her lost desert djinns dancing wildly, ....your eyes are scratchy from the moment you wake up. i feel angry and ill tempered most of the time. every night the stars are too large and magnified. too obvious.
i want lightening, rain and thunder. and i want it now.

today i kidnapped a goat. there were forty goats on the shamba. i have spoken to the herders. little kids in rags. they clearly understood that they mustn't come onto the shamba.

" we know that is the horses grass," they solemnly declared a few days ago. as i marched out there like The Wild Woman Of The Hill. janelli. a tribe unto herself.

this is My Grass. these are my brown brittle stalks, if you could call that grass.
and today. there they were. goats. like ants. eating everything. all the baby trees i had planted on what was a ploughed field. the last of the grass. eating anything that was edible like locusts.

so i kidnapped one. a fat blotchy bleating goat. suddenly an older boy arrived. wanting the goat back. saying the children were so small. that's why they had let the goats through. i said, "shauri yako bwana, siyo shida yangu." and said that next time the goats came onto the shamba i would catch one again, but this time it would end up in our pot. ignoring gabby (third born) wailing mournfully in the corner.
what on earth are you crying for, for godsake? her mother demanded
it's killing nature, she wailed, while her wild out of control brothers, newly returned from morogoro, all smelly and full of wild tales of witchdoctors and crocodiles, sniggered in the corner.

harsh eh? yes. harsh. well. president obama's grandfather did it in kogelo.
here a little story told to president obama by his aunt:

"... One day a man came to the edge of the compound with a goat on a leash (sic. a LEASH!? mine were multiple and free range. ). He wanted to pass through our land, because he lived on the other side, and he didn't want to walk around. So your grandfather told this man, "When you are alone, you are always free to pass through my land. But today you cannot pass, because your goat will eat my plants". Well. This man would not listen. He argued for a long time with your grandfather, saying that he would be careful and that the goat would do no harm. This man talked so much your grandfather finally called me over and said " Go and bring me Alego." That's what he called his panga, you see-"

"His machete,"

"Yes, his machete. He had two that he kept very, very sharp... And now your grandfather tells this man," See here. I have already told you that you should not pass, but you are too stubborn to listen. So now I will make a bargain with you. You can pass with your goat. But if even one leaf is harmed - if even one half of one leaf of my plants is harmed - then I will cut down your goat also."

"Well, even though I was very young at the time, I knew that this man must be so stupid, because he accepted my father's offer. We began to walk, the man and the goat in front, me and the old man following close behind. We had walked about twenty steps when the goat stuck out its neck and started nibbling at a leaf. Then - WHOOSH! My dad cut one side of the goat's head clean through. The owner was shocked and started to cry out "Aalieey! Aaiieey! What have you done now, Hussein Onyango" And your grandfather just wiped off his panga and said

" If I say I will do something, I must do it. Otherwise how will people know my word is true?"

from Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama pg. 370 - 371

the elders were persuaded.

i hope like hell the goats don't come again....because, well, i might not be so lucky.

the skies are empty.
and the clouds are pathetic.
the heat is relentless.
and frankly am fed up with it all.
fed up.

the house needs a paint.
the house needs water. a truck will come tomorrow.
to fill the tanks.
our showers are short lived.
in out basi.

life on the hill with no frills or memories.

Kitchen Board: Monday 16 March 2009.

Contributors: now, let' see....yes. veronica. gabby and yes niamh too.

Comments: no, we don't eat dog meat but we might be eating goat meat any day soon.


family affairs said...

Oh poor you with no water.....don't be fed up - although I'm quite sure I would be too. I'm reading that same Barack Obama book at the moment - isn't it well written? I'm enjoying it. Haven't got that far yet. Will dream of rain for you Lx

tut-tut said...

yes, dreams of rain for everyone there

Lori ann said...

I don't blame you at all. Please rain on the hill.Wish i could send you some of our green...
I hope the goats don't come back either, and I hope you don't have to resort to desperate measures, for the goat and little gabby's sake!
Beautiful photo of Craig's

nmj said...

Am sending you some rain right now. x

nmj said...

ps. please dont eat the goat!

Janelle said...

thanks's just the persistant heat which is so oppressive right now...hating it...will try and not feel fed really well written, although chippy at times...The White issue...always debatable. being a white african and he is black american...although half white...anyway..blah blah..another blog subject to be sure... xxx j

tut tut, lori ann and nmj...yes please please please dream up rain. desperate everwhere now. and don't worry nmj, we won't eat the goat!? xxx j said...

simply brilliant as ever. wish i could send you rain. i am heartily sick of it here in the west. the house leaks like proverbial sieve and thunder grumbles all night long and lightening flashes too bright, too close, so that i am woken from deep sleep. i have been awake since before 4. listening to the ominous drip drip above my bed, walking to the loo i tread in a puddle. inside. and dawn is nicotine streaked. no blue. and the thunder is still rumbling like a smoker who won't give up. five months of this and its dull. i promise. though i shall, of course, wish it all back again come popodom crack dry July.

karen said...

wow..can't imagine those dry, dusty days, as our rainy season is just going on & on - and I feel oh so guilty that I dare to complain about too much rain! The mushrooms are sprouting everywhere and our wooden furniture is mouldy. sorry to hear about the marauding goats. very frustrating.. frantically blowing rain clouds to you x

Mud in the City said...

Sending you rainy vibes from here!

"dog born" - I'm confused.

Miranda said...

Hahahahaha! I can't wait to move up to the hill and witness your crazy goat capturing antics for myself. Then I can blog about them too. Oh GOODY!!!

Janelle said...

anthea...blow it all this way please....pronto!! damian says it will rain on monday..but am sure he said that last week...another bright white cloudless day ahead...ferck... xxx j

karen...stop hogging the rain in botswana please!! and harvest some shrooms... xxx j

mud - dog borns are apparently dog bones... xxx j

hey mo...well i can;t WAIT to have you up on the hill!!! we will have to check we aren;t boring everyone with the same stories now....we should start a joint blog..come on!! xxx j

Reya Mellicker said...

I feel so desperate reading your post. If you, the mighty Janelle, cannot convince the weather gods to bring rain, then how can it ever come? I really feel this - how can it ever come?

Safari Craig is a fantastic photographer.

And our president's book is amazing. It blew me away.

Hoping, praying and visualizing rain coming to the hill.

Reya Mellicker said...

Saw this on Wild Eve's blog - a nice Irish blessing for rain. I'm saying it while facing in your direction. Can't hurt to try.

May the blessing of the rain be on you — the soft sweet rain.
May it fall upon your spirit so that all the little flowers may spring up, and shed their sweetness on the air.

May the blessing of the great rains be on you, may they beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean, and leave there many a shining pool where the blue of heaven shines, and sometimes a star.

May it be so!

QUASAR9 said...

Awesome, I just love decisive women
so am I invited for Roast Goat
or is it Irish stew and "Goats Head Soup" for the dogs, ... and the starving children

Janelle said...

thanks for the rain blessing! will try it this side...please keep doing it your side, ok? THANKS DARLIN'! xxx j

Quasar9! thanks for visiting...roasted goat indeed...and NOT for dogs...only for people and hungry kids. x j

Elizabeth said...

Stunning writing.
I am praying for rain for you. Water is such a blessing in life.
Last year in Morocco the lake/resevoir was so low it was scary.I said to Hayette( well -educated teaching assistant). We have to be so careful with water -these terrible golf-courses etc.
She said "God will send rain."
I said nothing -- inwardly Hah!
This winter it rained and rained and rained there for weeks on end - in Marrakesh in the desert.
Some should come your way.PLEASE!
We are back from dry India. It was so stunning and amazing but a bit weird too. Up by the Pakistan border with ancient decrepit palaces.... and fighter planes buzzing overhead....
We sent a goat to Africa for Xmas in our son's name via Heifer International.
I expect it is eaten by now.........
Much love

Dick said...

I have the kids doing long-distance rain dances here to end your dust bowl refugee status. Can't help with the goats.

Mama Shujaa said...


Shidi na nyingi siyo, dada yangu?
Everyone's after the same protion,eh?
Kaa salama. Mambo yata improve soon.
Mama S.

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