Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Monsoon? What Monsoon? And Foot Rot

In this part of the world we should be having a monsoon, but we're not. Sure, it has rained a bit, quite heavily a couple of times, but not what you could call a "monsoon".

muddy feetIt rains lightly in the night time so there are puddles on my route to SISP. About a third of the way is on tarmac, but that's potholed in places and the holes fill with red muddy water. Then the rest of the way is on rough tracks which are either surfaced with sharp broken rock pieces so you have to walk on the smoother dirt bits, or they're just plain dirt. Whatever, it's very easy to arrive at SISP with grubby feet, especially wearing open sandals which everyone does. I arrive at around 08:30 and the cleaners are still in the process of washing the floors. We don't wear footwear in the school so my feet get wet from the cleaning, if they weren't already wet from walking there. What this is all leading up to is that I've picked up Athlete's foot and it's a painful nuisance. One little toe has become quite swollen and the gap between it and its neighbour has closed up so that air doesn't circulate. Not that circulating air matters a lot - nothing much is drying because of the high humidity. On both feet the skin between the 4th and 5th toes has become cracked and it oozes a bit. I managed to buy some Canesten cream which I use at least twice a day, and try to use some Betadine beforehand to sterilise between my toes. The cream at least makes things a little more comfortable. I think it will work.

tapiocaThis is Tapioca, otherwise known as Cassava or Manioc or other names, and it seems to get planted on any spare bit of soil that can be dug over. It's common in the tropics. The root is the important bit and it's basically pure starch. When the plant is mature, what you see looks like a bunch of sticks coming out of the ground, topped by leaves at about 2 metres height. When growing to that height the intermediate leaves die and fall off, leaving behind obvious nodes on the sticks. During harvesting the sticks are kept and at planting time they're cut into short lengths, each with a few leaf nodes. I guess each length is about 200mm (8"). The ground is prepared by loosening it up, removing the weeds and making little humps on a 1m x 1m grid. The sticks are simply pushed into the humps and a few days later leaves begin to appear from the nodes, just like in this photo!

No comments:

Post a Comment