Sunday, November 22, 2009


The air conditioner rattles away on low cool.
The motor of the small fridge hums nonstop all day; every day.
The gentle tapping of the keyboards as I put my thoughts into prose.
A car pulls away from the office block in which I sit;
the main gates to the yard creak open to let it by.
A faint knocking on the clinic front door, then a louder knocking on another door as the owner of the knuckles searches a means to enter.
A tiny jingle alerts me to a message on my screen,
just as a cell phone sings its tune.
A discussion with a friend with a heavy European accent.
Then all goes quiet as the power shuts off suddenly and blackness envelopes me.
A moment goes by when I could have heard a pin drop.
Now the revving up of the computer as it boots up again.
The air conditioner comes on again, and the fridge picks up its tune.

A Blur

I sit here dwelling on the past few months. Its all been a blur. Started a volunteer position and then got an offer from an old job. Just settling into a new life, and new routine, when there's an interruption in rhythm. Stress everywhere. The phone's been down for weeks and I feel isolated. No internet either so disconnected from the world. Too much boiling inside of me. A to-do list pending for months now. My partner in his own world and unconcerned. Not connected. Alone. Lonely. Enfin, I get my driving license but days later I'm hurrying to catch a plane. My darling hustled my bags along and at the gate the tears began. Sadness, relief, anxious anticipation. Did I run away from a stressful life... perhaps. But moreso, I ran towards a necessary bridge that would link me to my future. I cross one last gate into the baggage claim area, about forty hours later, on another continent- crowds bursting with excited energy and activity. Foreign languages graze my ears as my mind tries to catch up with the present. I want to speak and I know not to use English; but instead Arabic or Igbo words try to tumble out. Its all a jumble in my head. The languages. The rhythm. My life. Yes, its all been a blur.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Kid And The Coat

You know those puffy jackets that are made for extreme cold weather… with small squares designed to trap air in a bid to offer maximum insulation to the wearer? The ones worn by skiers on mountain slopes, or scientists headed for the research station in Antarctica? Yes, those ones that make one look as round as the Michelin man. Well, I saw one of those coats today. Not a big deal you might think, but for some reason it was a big deal. For some reason the image of that coat stuck out like a sore thumb. Well, let me tell you why. It was a big deal because I saw that coat here, right here in the middle of the center of the African continent; in a province known to be one of the hottest in this country. I saw it the other morning on a little child no more than five years old. He (or she - babies have the same face and with such short hair, who but the mother can tell?) stood there, with his back to me on the street, in this light-coloured coat and nothing else on. Barefeet and all. I stifled a laugh and then wondered a long time about this kid and the coat.


A sea of African faces...
Some of them so young;
They might have never seen the sea
or ever heard the waves.
Born in this Sahara village
out in the middle of nowhere
desert sands stretching
for miles and miles -


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bits 'n' Bobs

Hi all,

Thanks for sticking with me. I loved your comments for sure. I've found out that, for some reason yet unknown to me, I can sneak into Blogspot on Sundays. Of course it takes hours for the site to open (no exageration) but its better than nothing. I've missed all your posts and so I am happy that I can come into the office and catch up with all your news on Sunday evenings. Needless to say, I have no social life here. I go from home to work, then back home again. There's lots to share. Right now I'm still house hunting. Found a lovely new house but no regular power and so I hesitate to take it. Maybe I'm being fussy, but I love to read and I refuse to invest in the 'wahala' (in Nigerian broken English, wahala means 'trouble') of owning a generator. So, I wait for my miracle ... a small apartment close by work with somewhat regular electricity.

Shall I make you laugh? I got my work car, and then got my work driving license, and the car sits outside my office every day. One day I'll have to start using it, I suppose. The truth is simply that there are so many pedestrians and motorcycles and bicycles on these predominantly tiny, narrow, hilly roads that I can't imagine adding my four-wheeler to that mix. Oh Lord, I pray for courage. Even to walk about scares me. The first day I ventured deep into the market with trusted coworkers, it was harrowing. I was nearly knocked down by a bicycle. He literally missed me by centimeters and had the nerve to yell angrily in French, or was it Lingala ... maybe Swahili. I was too busy trying not to be run over that I missed what language he was speaking.

Ah, adventures that can only be found in Africa... and Asia... and the Middle East, and lots of other places actually. In spite of my adjustment issues, it is a great experience and I'm getting settled. My French is improving forcefully, but thanks to my French teacher back in high school (Mrs. Idu at Kent College- she'd be so proud of me), I can remember quite a lot. I understand quite a bit and read easily, but need help with conversation. Alors, any French speakers out there? I salute you all. Golly, anyone who speaks more than one language is actually very clever.

Donc, mes amis, c'est tout pour ce moment mais avez vous une bonne semaine [so, my friends, that's all for the moment but you have a good week]! I gotta get a ride home. Its almost 10pm and its back to work tomorrow.