Charity Magazine

Yes, We Have No Bananas

By Diaryofamuzungu @CharlieBeau

Banana snacks on a Ugandan road trip

Two hands of bananas guide us on our road trip

Bananas are Uganda’s favourite fast food. They require no preparation, no refrigeration – and they’re cheap; just reach out your arm and you’ll find one – in villages, along the roadside, in the corner shop and balanced in huge bowls on ladies’ heads amongst the traffic jams in downtown Kampala.

Boda boda driver delivering matoke bananas

I'm not a mathematician but ... if Uganda were an equation, surely: matoke + boda boda = UG?

Baby Dillon can eat four sweet bananas for breakfast!

I arrived at Julia’s covered in banana – they were everywhere I looked. We brought them with us from Kampala, and they quickly turned brown in the hot car.

Fresh bananas were ‘ever waiting’ for the guests at Julia’s.

Three days in the Bush, all banana’d out, we point the car in the direction of the crater lakes of Fort Portal and pass a lady selling fruit under a tree.

“Would you like some more bananas?” Julia asks.

“No thanks.”

I tell you what love, I’ll tell you where you can stick your bananas.


And from 1921, a song that sticks in my head as stubbornly as banana puree clings to my clean trousers ….

1, 2, 3 let’s sing along to: “Yes, we have no Bananas”…

There’s a fruit store on our street
It’s run by a Greek
And he keeps good things to eat but you should hear him speak!
When you ask him anything, he never answers “no”
He just “yes”es you to death, and as he takes your dough he tells you
“Yes, we have no bananas
We have-a no bananas today
We’ve string beans, and onions
Cabashes, and scallions,
And all sorts of fruit and say
We have an old fashioned tomato
A Long Island potato but yes, we have no bananas
We have no bananas today”


Business got so good for him that he wrote home today,


“Send me Pete and Nick and Jim; I need help right away”
When he got them in the store, there was fun, you bet
Someone asked for “sparrow grass” and then the whole quartet
All answered “Yes, we have no bananas
We have-a no bananas today
Just try those coconuts
Those walnuts and doughnuts
There ain’t many nuts like they
We’ll sell you two kinds of red herring,
Dark brown, and ball-bearing
But yes, we have no bananas
We have no bananas today


“He, he, he, he, ha, ha, ha whatta you laugh at?


You gotta soup or pie?
Yes, I don’t think we got soup or pie
You gotta coconut pie?
Yes, I don’t think we got coconut pie
Well I’ll have one cup a coffee
We gotta no coffee
Then watta you got?
I got a banana!
Oh you’ve got a banana!


Yes, we gotta no banana, No banana, No banana, I tell you we gotta no banana today


I sella you no banana
Hey, Mary Anna, you gotta… gotta no banana?
Why this man, he’s no believe-a what I say… no… he no believe me…
Now whatta you wanta mister? You wanna buy twelve for a quarter?
Well, just a one of a look, I’m gonna call for my daughter
Hey, Mary Anna You gotta piana
Yes, a banana, no
Yes, we gotta no bananas today!


The new English “clerk”:


Yes, we are very sorry to inform you
That we are entirely out of the fruit in question
The afore-mentioned vegetable bearing the cognomen “Banana
We might induce you to accept a substitute less desirable,
But that is not the policy at this internationally famous green grocery
I should say not. No no no no no no no
But may we suggest that you sample our five o’clock tea
Which we feel certain will tempt your pallet?
However we regret that after a diligent search
Of the premises By our entire staff
We can positively affirm without fear of contradiction
That our raspberries are delicious; really delicious
Very delicious but we have no bananas today.


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