Saturday, 25 February 2012

Hammering it home

The District Office was transformed into a carpentry workshop last weekend. You could hear the sound of it all from some distance, but as we rounded the corner on Monday morning we were met by the sight of mountains of stacked school desks. A team of men have been assembling the pre-cut pieces into individual and double desks to be delivered to some lucky schools somewhere in the district. So, for a whole week I have tried to concentrate on writing guidance for implementing a simple system of Appraisal into the District Office amongst other things, to the dulcet tones of hammering. The wood is all mahogany, but hasn’t been treated or dried before construction. Hence the large nails are already splitting the wood and I fear the desks will not last as long as they should. They are spraying them with some preservative which we are breathing in as it wafts through the open windows and doors. I hope the preservative works effectively on us as well as the desks!

Sometimes, the only way to get rid of the fumes and the noise is to go to the Spot for lunch. (If I need an excuse.) I have been wondering about the practice of pouring the first sip of your drink onto the ground before you fill the glass and take any yourself. Some people seem to perform the same action to ensure the glass is clean. Anyway, evidently, Africans believe the Earth is alive with their ancestors. If you pour some drink, usually pito from a calabash, on the ground it is to remember and acknowledge your ancestors. Also, there is an element of self preservation. Your enemies are unlikely to poison your drink as they would need to poison their ancestors before you and that would be unthinkable! So remembering to sacrifice a sip of your beverage for those who have gone before you is always a wise move, but especially so if you ever suspect your popularity is waning!!

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