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