Monday, January 12, 2009

The good the bad and the ugly (not necessarily in that order)



What do I write about today? What shall I tell you?

Shall I tell you about Iwomba? Serious, quiet Iwomba of the sparse smiles and knowing eyes. Who I have known since I was born. Since before I was born. Who taught my sister and I how to fish. Who rustled up curries from nothing. Who could read the ways of the bush and knew which plants were medicine and which were not. But would never tell. How he used to cure us with leaves and roots – how those scorpion stings would just disintegrate under his artful touch. Iwomba who gave me the first pumpkins from his crop every year because I drove his very sick daughter to the hospital early one morning and donated blood to her. You saved her life, he would tell me, here is something from my first harvest. Who went to his field last week with his two wives to work. Who felt tired and disorientated and was put to bed by his wives who then went back to the field. How the wives came back later and he was gone. Never to be seen again. How people searched and searched, linked arms and walked the area over and over. How they had to have a funeral for him without a body. How the last time I saw him he proudly re-introduced me to his daughter, who I’d driven to the hospital all those years ago, a grown woman now. How as I left his village last, laden with mangoes he’d given me I thought, “I wonder if this is the last time I will see you?”



Or shall I tell you about the morbes? How I am fighting them back with a big black stick. I won’t let them get too near.

Or shall I rather tell you about my dear friend Robbee who is visiting? Robbee, who is a proper firiend, a true friend. You know the kind? Who you can say anything to and it doesn’t matter. Who is driving from Nairobi to South Africa in a powder blue (with a white stripe down the side) 1962 Ford Cortina (I think!). Who is looking for someone to keep him company. Oh how I’d love to do that! Who is a pilot and has been flying all OVER the place in the last few years. West Africa, Gabon, Congo, Guinea,, oh I don’t remember all the places. Robbee who says: “my new years resolution is to seize opportunity more and do more things.” My dear, I think you are doing that already and we love and admire you for it!

Or I could tell you about the little boy I saw yesterday running down the deserted street with a three foot aeroplane made out of tin rattling along behind him on a string. Or the car parked by the side of the road in town covered, but COVERED in fake croc shoes. If that’s your thing. I took a picture but it’s not very good. I shall try to take another.

Or maybe what I’ll rather do is head out into town and look for more quirky peculiar things to cheer me up.

Yes, that’s what I’ll do.



photo of Iwomba by Francois D'elbee

18 comments:

Mud in the City said...

You sound as though you are doing a lot of Thinking. Nothing bad in that - but I hope you are remembering the good times as well as feeling somber about the bad.

x

Miranda said...

Thanks Mud. Thinking with a capital T indeed! I don't think pregnancy hormones are helping but I can't blame EVERYTHING on that! Hope your Friday night worked out okay, haven't had a chance to comment yet. Will do so now.

tam said...

When I was home this time I had a hunch that if I didn't go and see him then i wouldn't ever again. and i didn't go.

hey man, jump in that car with Lobbee and come and visit!! aaah, please?

haha - word veri is doura.
that how you feel?

Lori ann said...

Trying to think of just the right thing to say...yes,pregancy is to blame, you are going through alot right now darling. But...try your best to be gentle with yourself, rest, eat well,exercise,take your vitamins,read about pregnancy and childbirth, be happy! a baby!
Iwomba will always live on in your memory and your child's when you share these stories with him or her.What a dignified man.
what are the morbes?
thanks for going on the run with me. xxx

Miranda said...

Tam - I know, last time I was there I didn't make it too see him either. And that's okay. Doura is it, yes, but not for much longer! Going for a coffee now with Robbee maybe I'll just hide in his car til he goes??

Lori - Ah, thanks for your kind words! The morbes. haha! I lived with a guy at university who wore black a lot and listened to Nick Cave all day and night. He coined the morbes phrase I think. Depressed, morbid, something like that! So when I say I have the morbes it means I'm a bit miz (miserable) but it usually also brings a smile to my face to remember him and his morbes and his friendship so its not all bad!! The run was great. Cleared my head!

Janelle said...

righto. that's me. done. smudgey. blubbing....VERY poignant post darling. and SO SO SAD about iwomba. we all loved iwomba. the last. the last. fight those morbs off Beautiful Miranda. fight them off with your big black stick. LOVE you. xxx j
word vei: amencron. (?)

Val said...

ah Miranda.. so sad about Iwomba but what dignity and grace he had and how much you and Tam learnt from him! he will live forever.
sorry about the morbs - guess your chemical soup is going through some changes..hang in there, rest lots and blog madly so we can walk it with you!
xxxx

fush and chips said...

Great post. Iwomba sounds like an amazing man, and reminds me of Mzulwane, our kind, wise, house boy who practically raised me from year dot.

spacedlaw said...

The cranes came and stole your friend, taking him in their garden above the clouds so he could rest his weary bones. He's drinking you health so be merry on his behalf for he was a nice man.

The morbes on the other hand do not sound nice at all and should be stomped.

Dumdad said...

Wonderful post. Iwomba sounds very special. And what a gift you gave his daughter - life!

Now you keep the morbes at bay; keep wielding that stick.

Chimera said...

So sorry about your friend Iwomba. It sounds so very strange and so upsetting. You are doing great letting your eyes and heart and thoughts jump from one branch to another. keep moving for a while. Thinking of you and tam and of his family too.
T xxx

Angela said...

Iwomba - when you said his name I immediately remembered it. I must have heard it many times from your family, he was surely part of your life. And yes, the cranes surely took him to a beautiful place.
Don`t worry about Thinking at this time - yes, pregnancy does change you, but for the better (if taht is possible with you). It adds another dimension you have not known before. And that is not without sadness. But it also makes you stronger (if THAT is possible with you!) and more beautiful and healthier than you ever were. Just let some time pass. When I was pregnant in my 5th month, we took a trip all the way to Finland by car, and it did not exhaust me one bit. Yes, go and look for more funny and strange things, and tell your baby about them. You will hear it laughing inside you!

Miranda said...

Geli - thank you auntie, for the kind words! Yes the hormones are rampant but I'm doing better today. I'm looking forward to the whole baby thing (tho I know it'll be hard at times!)

Tanvi - Ah thanks. Strange indeed - his first wife's mother also disappeared. CheHarry (old family friend) reckons he was ready to go and walked into the river. Cheharry said his heart was sad, which is true.

Dumdad - Yes Iwomba was special. As for his daughter, well. The day I took her to the hospital there was no-one there that had the same blood type as her (and they had no blood at the hospital. This is a bush hospital in the middle of no-where really). So Iwomba was going to cycle back to the village (which would probably have taken him 5 hours one way - it was a 3 hour drive) to find someone with the same blood type! So of course I said - ahem, excuse me, I'm O+ why can't I do it! Duh!

Spacedlaw - what a lovely picture! As I've said before, he was a wizard and it was a fitting way for him to go! As for the morbes - they have duly been stamped on!

Fush - indeed, there were many of these old gentlemen around, although I guess they are all slowly disappearing....

Val - Indeed Iwomba taught us much. we were lucky. As for blogging about pregnancy hormones and my current chemical soup, I fear that'll send us ALL off the edge!

Janelle - thanks for helping me wield that stick yesterday and for having me over for the night. All better now thanks! Great to see you and practice the school run! xxx

Anonymous said...

Hey Miranda,
What a beautiful post... I am still a backseat reader of your blog and love it. I have a theory that when people die, their souls fragment into tiny silvery bits that go into all the people they touched in their lives. I am pretty darn sure some of his amazing presence (I can never be sure I've spelt that word right), which beams out of that photo and emanates out of your writing, has gone into you and your little growing baby will be blessed with it too. Hope you're all better and those morbes have been sent far, far away.
Love,
Briony x
P.S. Congratulations on the baby!

Tessa said...

Go gently, Iwomba.

Oh Miranda, what a wonderful, heartfelt tribute you've written for Iwomba. I'm crying and smiling all at the same time at the beautiful word images that you've painted so tenderly for your very dear 'father'.

Take care of your sweet self and the bumpalicious. We'll all help you chase away those horrid morbes. Promise.

And uhambo olungenangozi to your friend Robee. My sister and I did that trip, but the other way round...from Cape Town to Uganda. Best adventure of my life!

Miranda said...

Briony, you're still here! Hurrah! I LIKE that theory a LOT and may have to start using it myself! Thanks for the kind words.

Tessa - Kind words from you too - thank you! Thanks too for the help chasing off the morbes. They've well and truly gone now! Pah! Cape Town to Uganda - what a great trip that must be. Ah, so jealous!

karen said...

Hi Miranda, don't know if it's too late to comment here, but this was so beautiful.. thank you! No idea why i don't have your blog on my list, but remedying that right now! take care and hope those morbes keep far far away (i remember that word too well from studying days!) x

Mama Shujaa said...

Dear Miranda,

Your tender spirit touched mine in this tribute.

That photograph speaks volumes.

Blessings to you,

Mama Shujaa.