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Yes, we have no bananas

May 27 • 7146 views • 19 Comments on Yes, we have no bananas Africa, African food, Kampala, Road trip, Society and culture, Travel, Uganda

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.
So tell me, do you have a banana?

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19 Responses to Yes, we have no bananas

  1. lizzziema says:

    how do I get the music on? Pressed everything in sight!

  2. Robin xx says:

    A Bananas Point of View

    Have you ever looked at life from the banana’s point of view?
    When craving of that lovely taste and thinking just of you!
    You’re pulling back its yellow coat, the soft white flesh revealed,
    So firm, yet soft, so sweet and moist, now that it’s unpeeled.
    Your teeth on edge, saliva flows, you ache to take a bite
    But stop a moment, take control, just gaze upon this sight.
    A banana…….undressed, the wind upon its naked body for the very first time,
    To devour it in a few short, cruel seconds would surely be a crime?!
    So pause……….let this new-born infant breathe the air you savour,
    There is no rush, you’re hungry yes, but wait, improve the flavour.
    Hold it up, turn it round, treat it to the sun
    Let it glimpse this new-found light that’s only just begun.
    Then, when those dazzling rays have pierced its flesh, made it warm and tender,
    Place that meat between your teeth…………..squeeeeeeze……………taste…………. aaaah ……………..feel its sweet surrender.

  3. Jannie Jan says:

    Took a sneaky peek at your web page the other day in work – forgot you had the music on. The accountant thought it was very good, especially when I told him I was looking at a cultural site about Uganda!

  4. the muzungu says:

    Dear RMO
    A word from our sponsors, the Banana Liberation Front:
    “Why ‘go to breakfast on en egg’ when our bendy friend can light up our morning so?”
    What a happy bunch we are! Time for work, gotta split x

  5. Robin xx (bananas for breakfast...YES!!) says:

    My cat Monty

    Tomcat, tomcat learning flight
    Ginger, striped and four feet white
    Leaping from a tree unheard
    A furry, whiskered, wingless bird

    Tomcat, tomcat stalking mice
    Patient, still, sharp claws the price
    Waiting, watching, scenting prey
    Unwary rodetn softly slay

    Tomcat, tomcat on the lawn
    Sun beats down, you lie and yawn
    Your ‘yoga’ leg raised in the air
    You wash and stretch wthout a care

    Tomcat, tomcat loves to fight
    Awesome, snarling, squealing bite
    Pummelled feet and swinging paw
    Gaping wounds from hammered claw

    Tomcat, tomcat won that night
    Black cat ran from ginger fright
    Tufts of fur and swollen ear
    Ginger, swipe, and show no fear

    Tomcat, tomcat hungry now
    Purring, calling, he knows how
    Fresh-filled dish with food once more
    Vital fuel for cat-o-war

    Tomcat, tomcat by the fire
    Green eyes drifting, dark desire
    Gazing, lazing, logs of heat
    Warming smell from padded feet

    Tomcat, tomcat in the night
    Ginger, striped and four feet white
    You disappear when darkness falls
    And never come when ‘daddy’ calls

    Tomcat, tomcat got it made
    Another life you wouldn’t trade
    A catlike bliss, supreme, sublime
    No stress, no work, no sweat, no time.


  6. Robin xx (bananas for breakfast...YES!!) says:

    Hi CB, (or is that Ceebee)

    I thought BLF stood for ‘Banana Licking Fiends’ Or maybe ‘Bananas Live Forever’
    or ‘Bananas….Ludicrous Fruit’ or ‘Bananas Lack Finesse’………………………oh I don’t know??
    I love them anyway. Hope you are well ‘Beauvoisin Likes Friends’


    • the muzungu says:

      Bananas truly are Ludicrous Fruit!
      But if someone offered you a straight one, you couldn’t take it seriously could you? Somehow – It Would be Wrong.

  7. […] What – no bananas? No baby Dillon to bounce on my knee? […]

  8. […] After an early start, and a briefing by our Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) guide David, we trekked uphill through a small tea plantation and a field of bananas. […]

  9. […] want to explode. Actually I feel fine (I’m sitting down!) although I will have to go easy on the bananas and Waragi (local gin) for next six […]

  10. […] I know my Ugandan friends will scream MATOKE! (steamed green banana – compulsory […]

  11. […] little later, Nkima pauses on the dry banana leaf roof of the chicken shed, peering beneath his front feet into the empty shed below. The […]

  12. […] Baby Dillon points at the sweet bananas. He’s eaten four by the time we arrive at Primate Lodge on the edge of Kibale Forest. I’m covered in banana (there’s no chance of keeping clean around dogs and babies). Malcolm arrives shortly with five visitors, here to do a bird census and to advise Julia on how to maximise the biodiversity to attract more birdlife from the forest. […]

  13. […] woman rushes over with a basket of roasted gonja (bananas) on her head. A young man walks up to our parked car and shows me a gold coin. He asks me how much […]

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