In this business, like in life, it’s the small things that matter. Busy day-in day-out with meetings, workshops and other life-saving activities we tend to forget about the smaller things in life, the ones that give its texture, its poetry. Things like bacon, red wine and superior cheese, all of them smuggled regularly into Moroni by myself and other respectable HRI collaborator.
As some of you may know, the Comoros are what you would call a “dry country” and things like bacon are referred to by the local populace as “haram”, which is a French word (Comoros were French colonies you see) and as far as I can tell means something like “bad for your cholesterol”. For unclear reasons, Friday is the day off here and on this day Comorians like to congregate around a tall building with speakers where they play some sort of French talk-music that presumably gives them trances, so important to any form of "ethnic" worship. Nathan the intern is also a hobby anthropologist and he is explaining these things to me. he is also in the process of finalizing a short documentary about the mystical habits of Africans, which he plans to "premiere" together with his photo exhibition upon his return home.
Last Friday the weather was spectacular and I had a few people over for lunch – Nathan, forever home-sick, has made us pancakes with bacon and eggs, with Malagasy honey instead of syrup, all washed down with two choices of wine: white or red. We’re not talking any decent terroir here of course, just the boxed fare one can procure in “Joburg” airport, my personal choice to transit planes on the way here. To fit more, I just remove the carton and stuff the bladder in my “Vesachi” carry-on and there you have it.
As we are enjoying the bacon and wine lunch at my humble residence on the beach, with mysterious French talk-music sneaking in from the over the electrified fence mingling with the sounds of the waves, all was fine indeed on this "island of contrasts”.
An observing pastafarianist, I find it hard to comprehend strict dietary restrictions beyond the obvious ones (no parmesan on sea-food pasta) - which is another small but significant sign that my religion is the superiour one. However, I would say that smuggling in bacon and wine and consuming it in ear-distance of a place of worship in a country that forbids both, must be a minor and understandable transgression (after saving all those lives in particular, with our work).
Not unlike say a group of immodestly clad gay Mexicans consuming a generous choice of recreational substances around the corner from the whatsitcalled megachurch in Tampa, Arizona on an early summer Sunday morning. As a matter of fact, today is probably a fine Sunday morning in Tampa, Arizona, early summer, and I have no doubt that such an innocent scene is not uncommon back there.
Here's to that - and, for those with no map at hand, Tampa, Arizona is somewhere south of Canada (not quite, but in the ballpark).