All I Wanted Was Some Branston

Niall2 Posted by Niall Manogue on Wed, 27 Feb 2008 | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

March 2008. It’s now just over 6 months since I came back from Kiwoko to work for CMS Ireland. It is often commented that coming back from Africa and readjusting to life in the West is more difficult than going out to Africa in the first place – there is more than a grain of truth in this. On one hand, I have loved picking up aspects of my life here again – friendships, family, a job that excites and enthuses me. And yet, there is a part of me that finds being here, just a little bit uncomfortable.

I remember going into Newtownbreda Tesco about 6 weeks after I returned home. I was looking to buy some Branston pickle, but was overwhelmed with the choice of pickles, sauces, tapenades, chutneys, relishes and conserves! The range was staggering. Though it’s quite funny now, at the time, I remember being more than a little disturbed and having to leave without my Branston.

There are many things I could write and reflect on about this – there are lots of things to say about simplicity in our lives; we could contrast this with the abject lack of choice about food that most of my friends in Africa had; I could go on about Newtownbreda Tesco as the modern day cathedral in our consumerist religion.

But I don’t want to do any of that.

I just want to put down a record that someone found it uncomfortable – I do this in the hope that someone else will open their eyes and look on the rows upon rows and feel something. So often we just operate on autopilot, feeling nothing, and carry on without really looking around us. My autopilot still functions for most of the time, but as a result of my time in Africa, it malfunctions every so often. When it does, it makes me feel uncomfortable, it disturbs me. And yet. It makes me feel alive.