Fieldset
Cows, Currency and My Expanding Environmental Footprint

I have Tanzanian shillings, Kenyan shillings, Sudanese pounds, English pounds, Euros, American dollars and Canadian dollars. My pockets and money belt are overflowing with bits of different currencies. The only currency I do not have is the currency of Lankien. Cows.

I have Tanzanian shillings, Kenyan shillings, Sudanese pounds, English pounds, Euros, American dollars and Canadian dollars. My pockets and money belt are overflowing with bits of different currencies. The only currency I do not have is the currency of Lankien. Cows. The Nuer people of southern Sudan are mainly cattle herding pastoralists and livestock has historically been their most important form of capital. A man's prestige and wealth is measured by the quantity and quality of the cows he owns. This initially seemed very strange to me, but when you think about it, in an area with no formal banking system, cows are probably as good a currency as anything.

I am thinking these thoughts during my sleepy layover in Heathrow airport. Yes, London Heathrow. I am going home. To hell with the jet lag. It is my long break, almost half way through my mission. I need to go home to see my husband, family and friends. I need to regroup.

I took an overnight British Airways flight from Nairobi to London. I found three empty seats, popped an imovane, stretched out, and slept for 4 hours. I am bleary eyed with fatigue and a hangover from the sleeping pill.

It is raining cats and dogs in London. In another hour I will be on my way
to Toronto. I sit at the gate, stare out at the rain and contemplate my rapidly expanding environmental footprint.