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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Good, Funny News from Malawi


It is well known that bovine and sheep methane emissions do contribute to global warming. This effect is very much relevant also in view of the fact that the methane warming power is about twenty times as much as carbon dioxide (per unit of weight).
In this regard also human flatulence should be considered although the methane content in the latter may be less than that due to cattle.

A few weeks ago I met in Zanzibar a former militant of an Italian extreme left-wing group active in the seventies of the last century. As we had an interesting talk I felt bound to dedicate him a post. Federico had settled in Dar es Salaam since a couple of months following his wife employed at a Dar based UN agency. Federico had previously found himself close to the Malawi border and the same had just happened to me (Tanzania and Malawi share a border amid the beautiful Lake Nyasa). In fact the coherent guy did not cross the border as he was frightened by the idea of being in Malawi. On the spur I did not grasp why although, later on, talking about food I got that beans were main staple in his diet.

I am also fond of legumes but, upon cooking them, I try to remember to add some crumbs of Asafoetida, a marvelous gum which I got in plenty years ago at a remote farmer market in Northern India. Still I have it in stock also because, to Graci's dismay, I sometimes forget to add it. Even in this cases however I remain far away from the steady and powerful Federico's performances.

The latest news from Malawi explains and justifies Federico's fear. The country is about to reintroduce a law which bans public farting. A hazard to Federico. "Any person who vitiates the atmosphere...shall be guilty of a misdemeanour."

I wonder whether the Malawian Justice Minister is motivated by environmental awareness but certainly he is setting a good example. And he knows how to hit the headlines.

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