Welcome to the Creekbank Blog.
We’re in Africa where “the stars are not familiar.”* We’re glad you’ve stopped by for a visit.
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COLONEL SANDERS COMES TO ADJUMANI
It’s the land of the chicken.
Or in this case, the rooster.
The crisis (one of my Dinka friends calls it “The Incident”) in South Sudan has occupied our hearts and much of our writing over the last month. It’s time to take a break from the serious. Today, I’d like to tackle one of my favorite humorous subjects: chickens.
When you travel in our part of Africa, you’ll eat lots of chicken (or as many languages call it, ‘kuku.”)
The average African doesn’t eat chicken very often.
It’s a luxury they reserve for special guests or events.
We stayed in an African home where they sent money with a motorcycle taxi to purchase and bring back a live chicken. DeDe watched the eight year old daughter dispatch the chicken with a flick of the knife.
On rural roads, schoolboy salesmen will run into the roadway holding aloft a flapping chicken in each hand.
On trips “Up Country” we often eat chicken daily, sometimes twice in a day. (Fried, then stewed.) I call it “death by Kuku.”
Last week we drove through Adjumani, Uganda. It’s the home of the Madi people and currently where thousands of South Sudanese are staying. Adjumani is a small town but has one large roundabout.
Roundabouts. Anyone driving in East Africa comes to learn about roundabouts. They’re a holdover from the British colonial days. You enter roundabouts on the left side (UK driving standards) and take one of the exits. We name them 9 o’clock (first left) noon (straight through) and 3 o’clock (third exit). Some roundabouts have less (3) or more (5) decision points.
I’m not quite sure what protocol is on entering a roundabout. We’re told that traffic already in the circle has precedence, but boda bodas (motorcycles) and matatus (Van taxis) haven’t gotten the memo. I’ve found you simply enter the roundabout in a steady speed and watch your side view mirrors and ease along. It calls for a combination of bluff, courtesy, and confident courage.
South Sudan’s roundabouts are different. First of all, you drive on the right. (I love crossing the bridge at Nimule from Uganda into South Sudan. On the bridge, drivers swap sides in a choreographed ballet to their new countries).
Secondly, SS law (or at least recommended) is that you turn on your hazard flashers entering the roundabout. Residents claim this creates more accidents when drivers see only one of the flashers and think you’re turning.
As we say, TIA. This is Africa.
Most larger towns have a clock tower in the median middle of their roundabout. (One of my friends who works with street kids says these medians are where the kids sleep as groups for safety.)
Smaller towns will have a large tree as their roundabout median. Many times a tattered tractor trailer tire will serve as the center of the roundabout.
But Adjumani has a large statue of a chicken.
It’s actually a rooster.
I especially like the umbrella above Mr. Rooster.
A Madi resident told us that the rooster is the symbol of their tribe and Adjumani, their main city.
“It’s our time piece. We wake up when the rooster crows. Other towns have their clock towers that chime the time.
We have our roosters.”
That brought my twisted mind to one of my favorite twisted cartoons, The Far Side. I love Gary Larsen’s humor, especially his skill at giving animals human-like qualities.*
Colonel Sanders arriving at the Pearly Gates is one of my favorites. The Adjumani rooster made me think of the chickens on each column at the pearly gates.
Larsen’s Far Sides from his trip(s) to Africa are great. I laugh each time as I recall them.
Do you have a twisted mind? If so, what are your favourite Far Side cartoons? Please comment below. Over the next few days I’ll be pinning my favourite Far Sides to our Pinterest page. Join in the fun.
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