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Getting used to Olbalbal

Get used …by Fr.¬†Arkadiusz Nowak (Translated from the Polish)

Coming years, which I spent in Africa, but we still do not cease to surprise, delight, enjoy … My great respect still inspires a sense of practical use and application by all Africans! It is irrelevant whether it is about the mind, or a piece of automotive spring …

Already even “cult” my story became the adventure that happened to me on the way back from the active volcano Oldoinyo Lengai (Mountain of God). Returning engine, I had a flat tire … a broken pump, zebras and giraffes next door, the nearest village about 20km away and the car, which appeared on the horizon. What about the fact that he had no brakes … where there is a wooden log that driver’s assistant voiced under the wheels to slow the vehicle a few meters behind me. They did not have a pump, and it seemed to me that this is the end … someone quietly said, “but we have a spare wheel”. And so let down a little air from the spare tire, which is using the hose from my spoiled pump, filled my tire from the bike … There is no hopeless situation … And the Africans always have a plan “B”!

This situation with the motor sharpened my eye on “African resourcefulness” … something which would seem to us spoiled and wasted, gives almost infinite possibility of application by an African, with granting a new meaning to the words. Just as it says insurgent anecdote, when young soldiers explained the training, the haversack, as the name suggests, is used to carrying grenades…

One of the first “grenades” that are striking are the Maasai shoes. Probably traditionally they have been used to skin animals. No, but if there was “civilization” it had to adapt … Tens of thousands of cars and motorcycles traverse the African continent leave behind waste or even seemingly useless tires and inner tubes. Inner tubes cut into the “tapes” are the ideal “string” to eyelets on the bike, or motorcycle tires … but very quickly found application in the production of shoes! I do not know whether a local shoemaker guarantees to 20 thousand. Kilometers of the course, but the shoes are not indestructible! Interestingly, I have heard somewhere that just such a tread / sole is healthiest for the legs and walking … Well, no longer surprised when women shopping will ask the men to be taken to the store automotive tires …

Another my admirable of African cloth. This is the basic attire Maasai women. He wears it to “onion”. Colorful scarves woman is wearing 5-6 layers! (Data for understandable reasons, are approximate). In this way, always everything you need, is “at hand” and just in itself! When it’s warm it up with a cloth or fans, or binding up around her hips … It also provides needed shade. When it is cold it is another cover and protect the body heat. In the days when a regular guest everyday life is dust, it represents excellent protection against dust, and after passing through “sandstorm” restore all things early freshness and colors … When it rains one of them goes to his head and shoulders … she soaks but others remain dry (for the time). When you need to bear a child is one of the headscarf properly established, an ideal “carrier” for a child who goes to her back. When are items to wear (container, fuel, water), it is also a sling “the bag”, net, basket … worn either on the head or on the back. When Night Is Falling … another “leaves of onion” serve as bed, cover and pillow! And it would seem that it is so ordinary scarf …

After weeks of work and effort, laundered cloth, along with other things can hit … the fridge! I guess the point is that things are always fresh?! It sounds strange, but otherwise use a refrigerator spoiled? On our mission, we do not have electricity. Our treasure was the fridge on gas. She assured us cold drinks, fresh bread, which can not be bought at the village and the meat we eat 2 times a week! Unfortunately, after years of use, came the bad days refrigerator … no longer freeze. The meat we eat 2 times a month, ie. On market days held in Olbalbal 3 and 16 of each month. Attempts to repair the refrigerator (putting it upside down or Transporting ballast the holes) as well as the efforts of professionals, ended in failure. She stood in the room pastor and occupied space. Then he went to the room occupied by kids and our “African housekeepers” … and They already knew how to develop a new piece of furniture! Very quickly it became a wardrobe, where stored their clothes … It’s always the mice will be more difficult to enter the refrigerator than the bag to gnaw their scarves … And if it is a refrigerator, a clothes and probably stay longer “fresh”.

Another “improvements” I see in a smoky hut Maasai … No surprise me anymore door hinges, which are the remnants of a car tire, which you could not do shoes. Indifferently pass by the cans of coffee, which has been converted into a torch. I sit on a plastic bucket, which also has thousands of applications. On the hearth boiled milk. Hearth large enough pots in the not sank helps car … spring! Well, how else … car firmly on the eyes do not see, but what they found “the way” is always something useful … Modernity in the house and yard … In the corner of the house sits Yohana. I feel that playing with a metal cup … After waiting for your evening cup of milk. I’m wrong though, because he now has pierced the bottom, obstructed the wire with a nail, everything is fastened on a piece of old Masai scarves. This is nothing but “Maasai bell” for goats or cows … to the darkness deter potential enemies to sluggish shepherd could hear where they graze his “lost sheep.” Mug already was old, rusted, stripped ear … well, but there’s always something can be created out of it …

But the furor today and is probably the hit of fashion, which I do not know where he came from, is … a plastic bucket. It is usually in the cooking oil, sometimes washing powder. Depending on the size of the bucket has become a measure of weight / volume. And so “sado” Onion is a bucket with a capacity of approx. one gallon, for “debe” potato is already a bucket with a capacity of approx. five gallons. When not only Maasai woman moves in the journey or at the market, its inseparable companion will be a “bag”, which of course is a plastic bucket. With so much practice that “attractive” looks at the hands of both women and men. Weary traveler can always take a break on the road, a comfortable seat will be how differently “plastic bag” … To get some comfort, in a timely manner to the bucket becomes a table or cabinet. Of course, it goes to both water, honey, and other items of daily use. If someone can afford it, it attaches to the bottom of the bucket tip of the shower and you can bathe in luxury …

Bucket properly processed is also “filters” to clean honey, which mixed with wax and exposed to the sun, flows into another bucket in pure form. And once the bucket spoil, and it would seem that nothing it does not, it is still appropriately cut to pieces in the “individual cut” for some goat or sheep candidates cut piece is attached between their front and hind legs and Maasai is a way of “planning herd” …

I look at things on my desk … and a lot of them have their names / name. In this way puts them boundaries of Africa … People may not always know what is the tire, automotive spring, pen, flashlight, but certainly surprise you that they can take advantage of it and how!

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