A Word A Week Photograph Challenge – Create


A  Word a Week Challenge – Create

 

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Once a week I will dip into my old English Oxford dictionary and pick a word on the page that it falls open at.  The challenge is to post a photograph, poem, story – whatever the genre you like best to describe of what that word means to you. Put a link back to my challenge page so others can take part if they wish.

 

Do you have any photos, memories or stories of your pet that you would like to share for this week’s challenge?

The Oki Shop. Samos. Greece.


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Maritza sat behind the till with her swollen leg propped up on a stool. The smell of it’s putrefaction, coupled with the stench of 40 years of shop grime and her unwashed body put shoppers daring enough to venture into the mini-market reeling out the door and gasping for air.

Anyone daring to venture into the gloom of the furthest isles would find a sparse selection of out of date stock and a large quantity of lard in the cooler. Fruit and veg were mouldering, vac sealed crisps were so old that they were soggy when opened, packaged goods polluted the fresh air when removed from their environment.

Maritza rented the space downstairs in the ‘Big House’. Thanks to Greek law concerning inheritance the property was owned by several hundred people, scattered across three continents, who each had claim to a couple of bricks. Money raised from the let was supposed to cover the maintenance.

The Oki shop (the no shop), christened because it never had any thing in, became notorious amongst family and friends.

“Do you have any butter?”

“Oki”

“Do you have any milk?”

“Oki”.

“Do you have any fresh bread?”

“Oki”

|”Do you sell anything within the sell by date?”

“Oki”.

However, whenever we arrived on the island and walked by the shop duty obliged us to take a deep breath, pop in and say hello. After exchanging pleasantries Maritza would offer us a small gift from the shop to take home.

“Do you like chocolate croissants?”

“Oki”

“Would you like a carton of orange juice?”

“Oki”

“How about a can of pop?”

“Oki”

Of course politeness prevailed and we walked out of the shop trailing a smell of decay from the unwanted item down the street to the nearest bin.

Sadly Maritza passed on, but on a more cheerful note the Oki shop closed and the potential threat of passing trade being poisoned was negated.

The Barber and the Brothel. The Beach Bungalow Build. Part 8


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Sometimes it takes a small nudge in the right direction to make the penny drop. The small nudge in this case was a screwdriver. The brothers were not willing to spend one cent of their income on tools for the bungalow and as a consequence sourcing a hammer, nails, spade, shovel, saw, broom etc etc became an epic journey around the village to find someone who had one and would be willing to loan it. This could take hours as the person in question could be fishing, shopping, asleep, hashish high or had loaned it to someone else. After waiting around for hours for tools to turn up we invariably paid a visit to the local village shop and bought the required item so we could get on with the job and not waste another day. Once we’d bought something the brothers were constantly at our door asking to borrow it. So it was with the screwdriver. As soon as they found out we had bought one they were always borrowing it and we were continually asking for it back.

One day there was a knock on the door.

“We need screwdriver” Osmane announced.

“Why” I replied having just wrested it off Mohammed after he borrowed, disappeared for a day or two then turned up hours before.

“Need to repair barber cutters” “Need to cut hair”

“for you?” I asked

“No for barber. He working in there” and gestured towards bungalow three. Sure enough when I checked it out a barber’s shop had been set up in the front room. That’s when I realised that the brothers were hiring out the bungalows for money and that’s when it dawned on me that bungalow two was being used as a brothel.

|One of the problems with the bungalow build was that the brothers had used the rooms as a doss house for themselves and friends when they wanted to get drunk, stoned or had had a fight with the wife. It was a habit that was proving hard to break and we had had number of discussions about the appropriate use of the rooms now they were being renovated.

It was about this time that we noticed women walking into the second bungalow, not turning on the lights and staying over. In the morning unknown men and the brothers would leave the bungalow.

Once a Masai warrior can strolling out followed by a women.

“Who’s that?” I asked Mohammed

“Oh he come to look at room, maybe I employ him for security” he replied.

When tackled about the situation we found out that the brothers were using the rooms for their Tussies (village women who were prostitutes). Despite painting, decorating, ripping out the squat toilet and cutting off the water until we had installed a new toilet and shower, the women continued to turn up on a regular basis. So we dismantled the old bed and removed the mattress. That night we watched as a shadowy shawled form slipped into the bungalow. Minutes later it marched out of the door and headed down to the restaurant. A skreetching female voice berated the brothers then left the compound muttering to herself, casting could kill looks in our direction.

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Driftwood bungalow.

 

The mattress was disposed of and the room remained bare until the painting and decorating was complete. After, Phil met with the brothers and the room was refurnished with a Antique Zanzibar bed and new mattress, locked up and the keys left with him and Ame.  Bungalow Two was complete.

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A Word A Week Photograph Challenge – Transport


A  Word a Week Challenge – transport

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Once a week I will dip into my old English Oxford dictionary and pick a word on the page that it falls open at.  The challenge is to post a photograph, poem, story – whatever the genre you like best to describe of what that word means to you. Put a link back to my challenge page so others can take part if they wish.

 

Do you have any photos, memories or stories of your pet that you would like to share for this week’s challenge?

A Word A Week Photograph Challenge – Red


A  Word a Week Challenge – Red

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Not much red here but  this african woman stands out against the blues of the landscape 

Once a week I will dip into my old English Oxford dictionary and pick a word on the page that it falls open at.  The challenge is to post a photograph, poem, story – whatever the genre you like best to describe of what that word means to you. Put a link back to my challenge page so others can take part if they wish.

 

Do you have any photos, memories or stories of your pet that you would like to share for this week’s challenge?

The Plumber on the Beach. The Beach Bungalow Build. Part 6.


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Time seemed to have no meaning in the village. The only thing that was well co-ordinated was the inter-village football league which the locals were passionate about.  Team names were inventive “If you’re beautiful you should be married” or “go for the legs” were two of the more unusual ones I heard.   It was unfortunate that this passion did not extend to the build. We would wait days (even weeks) for paint, tiles and equipment to arrive. Our plans were often put on hold because we were told that it was ‘arriving today” then “tomorrow” then the next day. Hanging around in the heat can be very frustrating and we learnt quickly to do our own thing until we saw the goods with our own eyes.

However one thing that was a constant irritation was lack of water supply in the bungalow.   The shower petered out on a weekly basis, the toilet would not flush and the sink dried up. We resorted to a mande (bucket of water and a scoop) for washing and flushing for at least a few days a week.   The problems ranged from a rusted shower head, the tank running dry, no generator to pump the tank once it had dropped below a certain level, no motivation by the brothers to solve the problems, jobs being given to family and friends who were not qualified plumbers and made the situation worse, no one having thought to order water to refill the tank.

“Amne Magi” I would say to Mohammed. He would make a phone call. “Water truck come today” he replied. Of course it didn’t.

“Amne Magi” I parroted the next day when I tracked him down. “Oh water truck come today” he replied.   It didn’t turn up because it turned out no one would take responsibility for paying them.

It was the same with the tradesmen

Where’s the plumber?” I’d ask

“Plumber come today”

Where’s the plumber? I’d ask the next day

“Plumber at funeral yesterday. He come today”

On the third day “Where’s the plumber?”

“Religious holiday yesterday. He come today”

And so on until 5 days had passed and we still had no running water.

Yet,  when building supplies finally arrived (normally without turps/brushes/or enough of it) the brothers had no qualms about badgering us to start work immediately.

“Until you sort out the water what is the point of hurrying to paint?”  I asked “You can’t let the rooms out until you have a reliable supply and we can’t paint until the bathroom is finished.”  They didn’t get it.

Once after a hot a sticky day painting the inside bedroom of bungalow 2 I had to wash in the sea.

“I’m not doing any more work until you sort out the water” I told the brothers.

“You paint and then we order the water” Osmane said

“Yeah right like that’s going to happen” I downed tools

One day I was sick, the water had dried and  the plumber had not arrived for several days.  Being sick without being able to flush or have a shower was awful.   When Phil arrived at the build I’d had enough and let my feelings be known.  I said that if I wasn’t paying for the room I would expect delays but the fact that I was and working for them as well,  I expected some kind of reciprocation.

I left and headed out along the beach to have a wash, swim, get away from the whole situation and calm down.

“Where you going?” a young man fell in beside me

“To have a swim, we’ve had no water for 4 days now” I replied

“Where you stay?”

“Pweza, but we are Fundi (workers) not tourists”

“Ah I heard about you.  You stay long time and help Ame”

“Not for much longer if they don’t get the water fixed” I replied

“I am a plumber” he replied

“Really” I said in amazement  “Well then call Mohammed or go and see Phil and maybe they can get you to fix the problem” and headed off for a swim.  It’s amazing what a bikini can do!

He waited for me to come back then walked down to the bungalows with me.

“I’ve brought you a plumber” I said to Mohammed. “How come I can find one in 10 minutes when you still haven’t produced one in 4 days? I asked. He had no answer.

A pump and regulator was procured, the tank filled and by the next day we had a supply to the bungalow again.  The water pressure was great but the original plumbing was rubbish.  The  hand basin pipes sprung a leak and flooded the bathroom. Mohammed summoned a friend (not my plumber) who managed to fix the basin and break the toilet. Five days later the shower ran dry. Someone had forgotten to order water.

 

 

A Word A Week Photograph Challenge – Traditional


Traditions.  We all have them whether it be cultural or personal.  These photos were taken in Peru of traditional dress and creating traditional crafts.

 

 

 

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Once a week I will dip into my old English Oxford dictionary and pick a word on the page that it falls open at.  The challenge is to post a photograph, poem, story – whatever the genre you like best to describe of what that word means to you. Put a link back to my challenge page so others can take part if they wish.

 

 

 

Do you have any photos, memories or stories of that you would like to share for this week’s challenge?

Mavis the Goat. The Beach Bungalow Build. Zanzibar. Part Five


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Mavis the Goat and Me

Goats are an inherent part of village life. They provide milk, cheese, food and eat rubbish. Unfortunately they also eat expensive shrubbery, make a lot of noise and if allowed to wander around crap everywhere. Most days we saw a herd walk through the compound from the village to the beach and often had to chase strays out who decided to linger and have a nibble on clothes/sleep on the balcony or take shelter from the rain. Phil had been trying for some time to get the brothers to build a fence with entrance gates around the compound to keep the animals out and re-divert the village people who used it as a rat run. It was only the threat of accommodating potential guests elsewhere due to security issues that galvanised them into finishing the project.

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“One day Phil announced that he was going to get a kid (baby goat) for Ame. The idea was to feed it up with restaurant scraps and then eat it. He spoke to an ex-student, Muhdi, who agreed to procure one for 50,000 shillings. That included transport for someone else to find the goat, collect it and then deliver it to Pweza, commission for the Muhdi plus expenses. Muhdi told Phil that the goat was in another village and that is why transport costs were part of the deal. Three days later the kid still had not materialised – Phil rang him.

“Where’s the goat?” he asked

“Just picked it up today. I bring tomorrow. Can you hear it crying? Everybody in the hostel thinks it is very cute but it is making a lot of noise” was the reply.

Another day and a half passed. Phil rang him again.

“Where’s the goat?”

“Ah the goat is crying all night and keeping everyone awake. I bring it today before the villagers decide enough is enough and eat it.”

Later that day Muhdi arrived by foot carrying a very cute kid which Phil named Mavis. Mavis was tied up out of the sun, refused to eat and bleated all day. The animal was very distressed. We consulted the assistant chef, Saiid, who was something of an expert on goats.

“She has been taken away from her mother too early. I will go into the village and ask the local village goat herdsman to find a surrogate mother for her until she is ready to be weaned”.

So Mavis was taken away and when Saiid came back he had an interesting story.

“I went to the goat man and he said to me – “Why have you bought back the goat that I sold to someone else this morning for 30,000 shillings? “ So now Mavis is back with her birth mother and he wants 3,000 for looking after her”.

Phil had been conned – the village Mavis came from was our village and Muhdi had just made himself a tidy 20,000 profit!

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 Goats can jump in but have to be helped back out

The Brothers. The Beach Bungalow Build. Part 4.


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Pingwe Beach at low tide.

 

Ame’s father had 5 wives who in total gave birth to 13 sons and 1 daughter – I think. They ranged in age from 7 to the late thirties. The problem with working the maths out is that friends and relatives (close and distant) refer to each other as ‘brother’ or ‘sister.’ Ame often said ‘he’s my brother’ by way of an introduction and others we met independently sometimes claimed the same. This led to much confusion as to who actually were blood brothers and who were not. If I totalled the total amount of people claiming kinship at face value it would rival the man in India who’s offspring amounted to 98 (so far). Although I do believe that the Masai chief who had to build a whole new Korral to accommodate all his children and 38 wives could be in the running.

The land that the bungalows were being built on turned out to be owned by ‘the brothers’ and the father. As a consequence the ones that were unemployed decided muscle in and make a claim on the project and its profits. When we arrived we were surprised to find that all the previous workers apart from Ame had left (or been forced out maybe?) and two of the brothers were helping out. Osmane who looked after the bar and sold substances on the side and Mohammed (the eldest) who was in charge of maintenance and building.

Mohammed told me that their grandfather was the first to settle along the coastline at Pingwe and started the community based there now. Over the years the family had sold various pieces of the land to foreign investors and Tanzanians. The last tracts of land to be sold were done so to finance one of the family’s pilgrimage to Mecca. Pweza and its land was the only piece left by the beach and now it seemed that Ame’s brothers and father expected to be supported by the project and, as it became abundantly clear as time went on, they didn’t expect to have to work for it.  Osmane was more than happy to close up shop, go for a smoke, take a nap, drink the profits with his mates and eat the guests food whilst Mohammed spent the building budget on himself or to hire friends to carry out work that was sub-standard (taking a cut for himself of course).  Poor Ame was left running around trying to shop, cook, serve, collect laundry, clean the rooms, organise water deliveries, clean the beach, take out tours, carry out building works and just about everything else that his brothers were supposed to do.    Budgeting, good customer service, planning ahead, paying business expenses, maintenance costs, quality control, doing things in a timely fashion – all new concepts to the brothers.   Dealing with the village use of the compound as a rat run to the beach, locals lounging around on the benches, getting drunk, getting high, using the facilities – again the brothers were ineffective.

The challenge was on and the learning curve for us all was going to be huge.

 

A Word A Week Photograph Challenge -Kitsch


 

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Most of us have come across kitsch or even own some.  I had a lava lamp which is apparently regarded as a piece of sixties kitsch although I would argue that the original space themed lava lamp was pretty cool.   I’m not sure if my photo classifies as kitsch but it fits the dictionary description of being garish and I’ve wanted to publish this  one for  a while – anyway its pretty horrible.

Once a week I will dip into my old English Oxford dictionary and pick a word on the page that it falls open at.  The challenge is to post a photograph, poem, story – whatever the genre you like best to describe of what that word means to you. Put a link back to my challenge page so others can take part if they wish.

Do you have any photos, memories or stories of your pet that you would like to share for this week’s challenge?

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