Thursday, October 05, 2006

In Africa, you are never alone

Its a funny thing to be stared at all the time. Here you are never truly alone unless you lock yourself in your villa. In your vehicle you are like the fish in a fishbowl seperated only by the glass. Hordes of young kids, with theiur hands pressed up against the glass-tapping, smiling, waving, pleading, begging. You leave the vehicle and you become like the Pied Piper, follwed by crowds. We went to a plateau overlooking the river and were the nights entertainment. A dozen or so herders came to offer their donkey ride services (Bennett was afraid) and then they stayed and watched us all night. They sat on their haunches only a few metres away and stayed until after sunset, until it was so dark we could only see them when they smiled and their teeth showed in the dark.

Paul and I walk down the streets, Bennett in the backpack, and a crowd of women surrounded us. They marvelled at the backpack, which in theory is close to how they all carry their babies around in a cloth sling on their back, but that fact that the MAN was carrying the child was so crazy to them. What a shock to their way of thinking. The talked and told us we should give them Bennett and he was very beautiful, which i am told is their way of appreciating him and they didnt really expect us to give him up or anything like that. The women normally keep their distance, the children flock to us, and the men are more subdued and usually only wave, if that. Even when we were stopped in the bush and hadnt seen hide nor hair of a person for many kilometres, within a few minutes they began to emerge from behind the millet stalks like some sort of freaky horror picture, which is great when you need people to help pull you out of the mud, but not so great when you are looking for a quiet shrub to pee behind.
All this to say, in africa, if you are alon, Enjoy it. Because it will end in a few seconds.

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