Kinigi: Drunk Diaries…Reflections on a Day After Drinking Banana Beer

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    Yea, I know. Wow! I felt it too when I took this photo. It actually stopped me in my tracks...
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    Young workers!
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    Banana beer.
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    The little bar, and a herd of curious children peeking in at the white guy!
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    Banana Beer testing.
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    Sorghum beer.
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    Not everyone likes me. Look at those eyes on that child...
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    These boys followed me for about an hour, just to spend time. They asked me to sing for them and then returned the favor after.
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    'Hmmm, something seems suspect here.... I am not sure what I am not sure about yet, but I am sure not sure about something. Most likely your skin color foreign man...'
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    Hauling a read-end on a bicycle. The uses for bicycles amaze me in Africa....
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    Volcano Sabyinyo - In Rwandan, 'sabyinyo' means teeth!
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    Such a cool gate!
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    I asked my friends what it was as I was taking a photo. They laughed as they said, "Is toilet!"
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    These are the paths we were walking down as we headed to Kagano village.
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    The land is littered with lava rocks just like these from volcanic eruptions.
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    My friends, Theo and Jackson.
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    Ah, the taste of horse shit!
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    But, banana beer is delicious.
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    I am not sure why I am so red... Maybe the strange beer?
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    Sorghum drying int he sun.
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    Fidele's house.
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    Fidele's family.
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    This little boy, arriving from nowhere on stilts.
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    Little friends on the walk. The two bigger kids were out fetching water for the family.
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    Sorghum fields.
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    Between village footpaths.
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    That, is a cute kid!
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    Friends and followers.
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    This older man, preparing vegetables.
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    Kinigi art.
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    Kinigi football pitch. I appreciate the sheep on the sidelines here.

Kinigi: Drunk Diaries…Reflections on a Day After Drinking Banana Beer.
Feb 6

Wow, where to start…  Life is a gift….

Shit, I just looked at my notes and I did not get some things completed today that I really wanted to accomplish, because I had an amazing day as a consequence.

I need more of me.  Or I need my helpful editor to become my personal assistant….  It sure would be nice if mom and dad were from ABBA.  I could really use the finances for such things that I am sure that the kids of those parents have available.  But, finances would probably leave me less hungry for life and I would likely be married to a beautiful Swede with zero personality… And, really, that is not what I actually want.

I am writing this article today a little drunk, and that is not like me, but there will be no other time for it so I must hammer it out now.  So, it may be all over the place.  That is right…it is only sober Beaver and hung-over Beaver spewing out words to you.  Today is different.  I will try to maintain focus though and I will quit bitching that I am not an ABBA child… but I seem to need to bitch about that about once every six months…

I might have to use some point form in this sucker.  I have to go to bed soon and I may not get a chance to organize this as well as my usual organization.  We will see…

It appears that I like to use this (…) a lot when I am drunk.  I love using that shit anyway, but I am pushing it further now.  Okay, too much self analyzing.  I am writing like I am stoned.  Enough.  Meat and potato time!

So, without further adieu, fantastic today went down like this…
I was walking down the street of my new beloved village (Kinigi), when two young guys approached me.  They were very friendly and I had a suspicion that they thought I was money in the bank. Everyone in this village is super friendly and no one actually seems to be after my money.  The boys, Theo and Jackson, asked me if I wanted to go on a tour of their village.  I was in the middle of buying a pineapple for breakfast at the time, so I told them my first priority was to consume that.  Then, I asked them if they wanted money for their tour.  The boys, both 19, told me that they do not want my money, but that they are planning to study to become gorilla doctors and they want to practice speaking English.  Deal…

Young workers!

Young workers!

We went for a walk.  They had initially told me that we will probably see gorillas on the edge of the village when they migrate down the volcano mountain during the sunshine.  That sounded great, but it also sounded like a $750 loss based on what I paid for my tomorrow trek yesterday, so I was a mixed bag on how I felt about that…about village gorilla sightings….  As it was, we did not come across gorillas because we found banana beer.  It kind of took over the day.  More on that later…

*The soup I am eating for dinner is crazy hot right now.  I have to remember what mom said, and eat from the edges first.  I am too impulsive and just want that shit in my stomach and get eating done with*

Theo and Jackson told me if you want to continue studying once you are about 16 years of age, school fees come into effect and will cost $300 USD per term.  There are three terms in a year.  People usually have between four and one hundred kids in this part of the world.  Imagine that cost if your kids do as well as you probably want them to… Get a job son…!
Jackson told me that he comes from a family of farmers.  Their biggest enemy is the buffalo.  Jackson said, “The buffalo eat potato.  Hard to school fees…”

Theo and Jackson told me that they have never had a conversation with a Caucasian before.

There are pygmy people here.  They are also short like other pygmies you have heard about.  They have African skin, but strange faces.  They are people of the land, surviving off of animals they hunt for their meat.  Consequently, they are the poachers that the government has a problem with.  Pygmy poaching includes gorilla poaching.  So, the government has relocated them from the mountainous volcanoes and placed them in a village where, according to my new friends, “They are trying to figure out how to survive without really using currency or stealing vegetables from surrounding gardens.”

Yea, I know. Wow! I felt it too when I took this photo. It actually stopped me in my tracks...

Yea, I know. Wow! I felt it too when I took this photo. It actually stopped me in my tracks…

My friends took me through a forest past the pygmy village, where children yelled down asking me to come and watch them dance…for a fee, and into a village called Kagano, where we went into a tiny grey room. It was a bar which served banana beer and sorghum beer.  I had only heard of banana beer before when I was in Tanzania, and I was super glad to find it.  The cost for a bottle that once held 750ml of a very different liquor… $0.40.  Yeah!

The little bar, and a herd of curious children peeking in at the white guy!

The little bar and a herd of curious children peeking in at the white guy!

The little grey and dark building was nearly full. It was probably only just reaching afternoon at that point.  My friends told me that the locals had gone to pray at church and now they were relaxing (and probably sinning!).

When our bartender brought us our bottle of banana beer, he opened it in front of us and had a big drink, with his lips on the top like it was his own beer. Then, he set it down on the table with a straw stuck into it to make it long enough to get to the top of the bottle.  I guess, he taste tests it first to make sure we are getting a good batch.  Earlier during the day, my friends had pointed out a guy carrying a jerry-can and told me that it was full of homemade banana beer…

Banana beer.

Banana beer.

Well, we were the only ones with a bottle of banana beer.  Everyone else in the room was drinking sorghum beer, which came in a huge metal cup for the same price.  The banana beer had at least 2cm of sediment in the bottom, where the straw was, and that is what we started drinking.  But, it was really good!  The taste was sweet.  And it was delicious.  There were things floating in it that resembled ants, but were more than likely just something from the recipe.  I did not pay enough attention to really want to know because the taste was great!  I got up and cheers-ed every person who had a cup in the little dark grey room.  That made for a lot of laughs and a lot of people who liked the weird white stranger in the room right away.

Sorghum beer.

Sorghum beer.

The man seated next to us was drinking sorghum beer.  I offered him some of our banana beer and he gave me his cup of sorghum.  I can say that sorghum beer tastes a lot like horse shit, but I was glad to have tried it, though I was much happier with our own drink.  Someone brought in a bottle of what my friends called “Industrial banana beer” for me to try that was in a proper beer bottle with a label.  It was horrible and so sweet that the entire room laughed at my involuntary facial expression at the extreme taste.  The drink fermented in a jerry-can was far better that what a factory was making…

Not everyone likes me. Look at those eyes on that child...

Not everyone likes me. Look at those eyes on that child…

Our new friend beside us, Fidele, told me when I asked, that he can drink three of the huge glasses of sorghum beer and two bottles of the banana beer.  Then he said, “Goes home to family with no problem.”  I paid for his glass of beer and our bottle, then Fidele took us to his house to meet his family.  It was a lot of fun and a lot of excited locals.  A toddler in his mother’s arms cried at her having him too close to me…

As we walked back to town, I could feel the banana beer in my legs.  I had drunk one half of the bottle and my friends had drunk the other half.  I found myself tripping over a lot of stones on the way home…

These boys followed me for about an hour, just to spend time. They asked me to sing for them and then returned the favor after.

These boys followed me for about an hour just to spend time. They asked me to sing for them and then returned the favor after.

Many children followed us as we walked.  They were excited to meet me.  The adults were excited to shake my hand.  It is crazy to be here sometimes….  At one point Theo started laughing at something…

I wish I would have recorded his conversation because he said something like, “I think many of the adults have never seen a white-man before.  You are very interesting for them.  That old woman there, she was looking at you like she was imagining you naked.  She had her hand on her chin with a smile as she stared into you.  She was very happy to see you…”

Once we returned to Kinigi, I took my friends out for beer and afternoon dinner in the hotel where I am staying.  The boys told me that they were surprised at the way that staff treated me and cleaned up the table for us, getting rid of any crumbs left over once we were finished.

They said they will remember me forever, just because of that moment because they have never seen such specialty treatment happen before.  I told them that tourists expect too much when they travel and eat in tourist destinations…  It is actually very awful.  However, the boys loved it…

'Hmmm, something seems suspect here....'

“Hmmm, something seems suspect here….”

Theo and Jackson had told me earlier during the day that the football had popped yesterday during a game when someone accidentally kicked it into some trees overhead.  The man they took it to for repairs said it was too old and fragile to fix.  They have a game tomorrow and said they need a ball to be able to play.  They are in a league and if they can win their league, they can get sponsored for socks, shorts and shoes.  After dinner, I went with them and I spent $20 for a new soccer/football for their team.  It is the least I can do for them for such a wonderful day…


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2 Responses

  1. Gary Woods says:

    Stephen, I really enjoy your writings, especially the drunk diaries. You may me on to something with the banana beer as a creative writing juice. Anyways, great stuff, keep it coming.
    Gary Woods

    • harrishog1 says:

      Thanks Gary. Oh oh, that is dangerous telling me that my drunk writing was your favorite! 🙂
      Thanks for reading and following along. It is a crazy adventure out here. Nothing every runs in a straight line, but it always works out somehow. It drives you crazy sometimes, but then it turns out when you reflect on it that night or the next day, it was probably a better time not working out quite right…
      Thanks so much for the compliments Gary!

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