Yoyo's and Pork

Yoyo's and pork. A classic pairing.

It was impossible for me not to be this cheesey. When I first heard Shamiyoyo, I heard ‘something something yoyo.’ Then I heard a story by Michael Spencer Bown, widely regarded as the most traveled man in history, who spent extended time in every country over decades of nonstop travel. His story is worth some googling. Anyway, while running low on funds in Africa, he saw some craftsmen throwing away scraps of coffee tree wood. His creative, enterprising juices started flowing and he asked for the coffee wood scraps which were given to him for free. He took the scraps to a carpenter and asked him to make as many low-standing tables as possible. I spoke with Mr. Bown on Facebook and he said 'the coffee coffee tables sold like hot cakes' back in Canada, his home country. This was my inspiration for a new Day by De Shop item - Shamiyoyo yoyo's. Before this trip, I had one custom engraved with 'Shamiyoyo' and gifted it to Mr. Charles Shamiyoyo, headmaster of the village. We will talk with a local craftsman today to see if he can make some yoyo's for sale. If nothing else, Charles is having a load of fun trying to master his yoyo.

Mr. Charles Shamiyoyo with his new yoyo

Mr. Charles Shamiyoyo with his new yoyo

So about the pork. I've just agreed to buy a 52 kg Shamiyoyo pig for $75 USD to share with the village as a thank you for letting me stay here. Due to drought, the farm is in need of additional feed and the proceeds will provide feed while the search continues for additional pig buyers. I find pigs as cute as the next person but this is what happens behind the scenes every time you eat bacon, and for the people here, this is survival.

Shamiyoyo pigs

Shamiyoyo pigs

This evening, I slaughtered a 52 kg pig with a small log and a dull knife. That's how they do it here. I don't feel particularly good about it, but I felt some responsibility to do it myself. And I won't go into any more detail here but if you ask me personally, I'll tell you all about it. Ultimately, every villager got at least 1 kg of pork for which they were grateful. Wana's aunt is helping us prepare some liver, heart, spleen, and kidney. After tasting all four, I am partial to the heart. It was almost like beef pot roast. And to think, I used to be an ultra picky eater. It's a day for firsts.

Wana's aunt frying pig liver and heart

Wana's aunt frying pig liver and heart

Liver (left) and heart (right)

Liver (left) and heart (right)

In more pleasant news, I met Chief Mutondo XXXVII who reigns over Shamiyoyo in addition to, I was told, an estimated 40,000 sq km. It is protocol to pay respects to the Chief upon arrival. Even the Zambian President would be required to do so and kneel before the Chief. First, we met his officers in a formal meeting where we had to explain local Day by De projects and my reasons for visiting. After passing their review, we were sent to the Chief. The Chief entered and sat on his throne that rested on a leopard skin pelt. While initially intimidating, I quickly realized he was very welcoming and determined to help local Day by De projects succeed. He spoke often in metaphors and expressed that the Zambians should be like a bull stuck in the mud. They should help themselves before they should accept help from others. Though blunt, he said that if the bull will not put forth effort to save itself, it deserves a dark fate. He continued that if the Day by De projects fail, he fails which will be sure motivation for Shamiyoyo to work hard. At the end, he invited me to his party Saturday celebrating his 1 year anniversary as Chief. This is a welcomed and exciting surprise and I'll be sure to blog about it.

Chief Mutondo (apologies for the poor lighting)

Chief Mutondo (apologies for the poor lighting)

#3wins: 1) While it's hard not to focus on killing a pig today, I recognize it was good to help feed these villagers who struggle for food daily, 2) I got some children near the Chief's home to mimic my English and got them to say 'Mine! Mine! Mine!' that sounded spot on like the pelicans from Finding Nemo, and 3) it was amusing to watch Charles and Fred spend all day trying to learn how to yoyo. They brought it literally everywhere we went today. After many hours, they mostly got it down.

Ben KirbyComment