Monday 28th April
Its good to be cooking again. To get the groceries I wander around the market and visit the small grocery shops and stalls. I meet a lot of people in this way. There are some here who have cars and then, as in the UK, tend to use them to go everywhere. With a little money you can employ a cook and a cleaner and they will sort out your food. They miss so much!!
I went into town with a spring in my step. The lady with a beatifully set up stall sold me some kapenta (small dried fish). I remarked that her stall was as beautiful as ever. She sells mainly beans and kapenta. The beans as well as being insmall containers measuring the different quantities are laid according to colour on the table and make a very effective display – I must ask if I can take a photo.
I needed some chitenges for the bag tidies and found a stall with a good variety. I chose a few traditional patterns – though knowing the material would not be manufactured anywhere remotely local!!
My next task was to buy some mayonnaise – essential for egg mayonaise sandwiches – a favourite with Jennipher. I have great problems with Nestle products. I haven't forgiven them for persuading poor and vulnerable people from giving up breast milk for their powdered variety many years ago. I have no reason to believe that their ethics have improved . So if at all possible I avoid their products. Cross and Blackwell is now owned by Nestle and it is very difficult to buy any other mayonaise in Monze. I had tried at least ten shops and was about to give up when I spotted some Nigo mayonaise – the main thing is it isn't Nestle – so they get my custom! I thanked the other shopkeepers with Twalumba to varying degrees of amusement. I bought a few boiled eggs from some young lads – as always I have mixed feelings. They should be at school not seeling eggs – but if no one buys their eggs they and their families will probably go hungry.
A few bananas, nachas (like a green skinned tangerine, but ripe inside) and an avocado pear – I already picked up some peanut butter – so I am fully equipped – well would have been if I remembered the bread!
As I passed a stall a couple of guys called me over. I went to see what they wanted. They asked me what I was doing and I said I had been shopping. It was interesting for them to know that I cooked for myself - “what about your wife”. I explained that for many years I did most of the cooking at home as well. One of the lads told me he was called Dugo, the other I am afraid had a name I cannot recall. I enjoy the banter with the local people. They are good fun and we almost always part with broad smiles on our faces.
Of course I am approached every day by people who want money. A guy yesterday said his house was broken into and everything stolen, he begged for a little and had a few items. He needed food for his family. My inclination is to put my hand in my pocket and help out. However, this happens everyday and often several times a day. The stories are harrowing and probably most are perfectly true. However, I cannot feed the whole of Monze and if I start giving to complete strangers I suspect word will quickly spread. It will also become worse for other visitors. Of course I could do less walking and shopping, but that isn't my choice. It is very rare that I give to complete strangers, but it is very painful to say no.
Yesterday was mainly a day of rest. I arrived an hour late for mass and the sermon had just began! I suspect that because there was a baptism they combined the children and adult masses. I spent much of the day sitting in the garden or in the conservatory. I also did some washing and a little cleaning. It was very good just to enjoy this place.