Friday, September 30, 2016

Basic Kiswahili Phrases: 'Nilipopata Ajali'

Just about everyone who lives here has that story. It begins with "when I had my accident..." and goes from there. A city of broken people, we are, all harboring reminiscences of hospital stays caused by incredible events. Those of us who have lived to tell about it. 

Someone asked me recently: how come everybody has that story? I was stumped. I don't drive in Dar anymore... since I had my accident... but the statistics are off the charts. This is a dangerous city for many reasons. Transport is one of them. 

La Dee was in an accident recently. A hit and run. She was the passenger in a bajaj that got swiped from the left by someone who was speeding at an intersection. Through a series of miracles, she was not terminally damaged and good samaritans ensured that we were able to find her and get her care.*
So we are going through recovery. She does the hard work of healing while I get to fuss about her nutrition and general mood upkeep as best I can.**

It turns out that having an interest in cooking makes one a very dubious carer. I had dreams of maybe going to medical school someday in my sixties- should I live that long- to explore a fascination that gets stronger over time. Oh, god, medical science is absolutely riveting. There is nothing about it I don't want to know.

Except for the clinical aspect. So there we were one evening, watching La Dee get one of her ouchies dressed by some docs. First of all, it was utterly disgusting. As someone with a strong stomach it caught me by surprise how the old gag reflex kicks in when you see a loved one getting basted like a joint of pork. I have watched slaughters and flicked worms out of the ass of the carcass of a dead cow... but this? This was horrifying. 

Even worse was the part where my brain started to consider the culinary possibilities as I gazed into my sister's wounded flesh. Hmm. Sure- honey has been used as a medicament since before the pharaohs walked the earth but in this case... it sure looked like basting to me. The more honey they poured in the wound, the more I thought about how rosemary would be a lovely compliment in the flavor profile. Vinegar for contrast, maybe? Cloves? 

How beautifully trussed her leg was, just lovely. Stuffed with honey, clean stitching. Add some herbs and put in a hot oven for a little while, it might go good with some red wine or maybe a nice ice tea...

Oh god.

So this is why I will not be pursuing the medical ambition. My inner omnivore surprised me and while I would never actually eat a relative or a friend... well. I also wouldn't trust a woman who thinks of recipes while watching her relative undergo a medical procedure. Just doesn't seem right. 

I told La Dee about this issue and she laughed of course. Then she told me to blog about my psychopathic moment. So here you go sis, because if it makes you laugh at least we'll both be happy plus your stitches are going to bitch at you as revenge for this request. I am collecting more jokes about Long Pig but will deliver them in person because I don't want to end up in a plexiglas cage with a face-mask on, okay?

Just about everyone here has that story. The one which starts with 'when I had my accident...' The trick? Is to find a way to laugh about it, even... especially... when it can take you out of the darkness. 

* Universal free healthcare? Has kind of become a thing for me now. Going to be throwing some passion at it. 

** not to brag or anything but I am really, really fucking good at getting sick people to eat well and keep an even keel. No idea why, and not interested in trying to quantify it. But if you ever have to be a carer too (out of the blue) just remember sick people need a bit of laughter too and a good tasty meal never hurt anyone. 

1 comment:


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