Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pieces of Learning: Products and Pushes

Some more random tidbits about the products and cultural trends I've found in southern Africa....

-It won't seem abnormal to a variety of people from other countries.  But to an American it is a bit weird.  There are no crutches on this continent.  In America, medics, nurses, and hospitals are equipped with crutches that lean on the ribs below the armpit.  Here, braces that fit around the forearm, like the ones pictured below, are standard. These are what are known as "crutches."

-Here a large percentage of students, even those who have expensive imported sneakers and sports-specific shoes, do gym class in bare feet.  No matter what the color or economic bracket, this is a very normal cultural push in Africa.

-Meet the most common pot scrubber in our country, plastic mesh fruit/veggie bag.  Here it is common for Shona to ball these up to make their own - a valuable commodity that only comes from grocery stores.  We never throw ours away; they always go to the staff.

-There is a large push in Africa for male circumcision.  You can find this push everywhere, on bumper stickers, tee-shirts, billboards, and other random places- like this car we came across in South Africa: "Over 93,000 free male circumcisions a year!"

-Plain products can often be hard to find.  Our first year here I think we found plain white toilet paper twice.  And plain white marshmallows?  Forget it.

 -Most of the masses in southern Africa use bar soap. Referred to often as "green soap," these bars are used for bathing, hair washing, laundry washing, and dish washing.  At over a foot long, and hard but oily, these potent bars are everywhere!

-It is hard to find plain honey.  Honey is marketed most often as a specialty of flavor, like wine... On the left is Msasa honey, made from the seasonal nectar of Msasa trees. It is known for its nutritional value and is a dark cooking honey. The honey on the right is a jacaranda honey.  Again, it is produced during a specific season in southern Africa, and is known for its sweetness.