Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Here are a few random things I would like to share:

I recently had a dream that I was in a grocery store and saw the biggest green apples I have ever seen. They were bigger than the size of my hand. So I excitedly brought my big green apple to the cashier where she told me it would cost a whole $3.87 Canadian. I was traumatized because it was too expensive for me to afford. This dream is reflecting how I am feeling right now here in Africa. I really really miss APPLES. A nice crunchy apple would make my day right now. The thing is that I have been eating apples since I was a child, probably at least 1 every other day, and when all of a sudden you don’t have apples anymore it is quite a shock. Just previously to this dream there was a lady who came to the bakery to buy some bread and she had in her hand a shiny green apple. I was so excited that I had to ask her where she bought it. She told me that she bought it next to the hospital, so the next day I went in search for someone or someplace that was selling green apples. They must have been quite secret at selling them because I came home empty handed. This was a sad day which was then followed by my depressing dream. I am sure in another month or two I will forget about apples all together, I hope.

And another random event:
One evening when Tomas, Karen and I were walking home in the dark, my eye caught sight of a speck of light on the ground near the gate to our house. I exclaimed, “look there’s a light on the ground!” followed by, “Hey! it’s a light up BUG!” So there we are, all three of us crouched around this tiny little “light up bug,” more commonly known as a “firefly,” when all of a sudden we hear a child’s voice say something in French right behind us. I was not expecting a little boy to come out from the darkness and tell us the name of this fascinating “light up bug,” so I was quite taken by surprise. It was a pretty funny sight: 3 foreigners crouched in the dark around an ordinary firefly in great awe (well, mostly me. I was oooing and awwing for quite awhile). After the little boy came and said, “luciole,” (firefly in French) he paused for a few moments, probably thinking to himself “these white people are really strange,” and then disappeared into the darkness. It was so random that it made me laugh, not that it is difficult to make me laugh.

There are some strange and interesting characters here in Aru whom are worth mentioning:
First off I will start with the most interesting character whose name is Mao. Some may call him a beggar, but us volunteers prefer to call him a prophet. You see he doesn’t actually “beg” for money so he couldn’t possibly be called a beggar. He wears all kinds of bangles on his arms and ankles which for me defines him as a sort of magical character. But as for a prophet I think this comes from his strange demeanor. One time Mao was sitting next the bakery and the cyber cafĂ© (where he is usually always hanging out) in the dirt half hidden behind the plants and flowers and was waving. I looked in the direction he was waving and there was absolutely nobody. Another time I saw him sitting again in the dirt next to the bakery kicking his legs up and down. It seemed as though he was pounding his feet into the dirt like some sort of ritual. I often see him sitting next to the embers of trash fires picking up stones and dirt. Trash fires are very common since there is no such thing as garbage trucks or recycling systems here. I am not sure why Mao enjoys sitting next to these smoky trash fires because the smell is rather toxic and appalling. On two occasions, told to me secondhand by Tomas, Mao has been seen trying to fit into society. Apparently Mao was sitting in the dirt as always but this time instead of picking at the dirt he was stitching his pants! I wish I could have seen this because if you saw Mao you would think it funny for him to all of a sudden care to look appropriate since he looks so helpless as it is. The only articles he has on his body other than his numerous bangles, which by the way are the thickest and heaviest bangles I have ever seen…they almost look like he could have been chained up in a prison with them, are a pair of pants. Now pants is stretching it. I mean they are sewed like pants but they look more like a giant brown potato sack. The funniest thing about his pants are that the only way the stay on his skinny body are by him holding them up, and many times he forgets to do this probably because he is thinking so many deep prophetic thoughts I presume. Well, maybe next time instead of stitching his pants he should make himself a belt. Tomas then saw Mao sitting underneath someone’s moto trying to fix it. He could possibly be trying to gain himself some handy skills incase he wants to go and search for a job in the future. Also I have never heard Mao speak, I am not sure if he knows even Lingala one of the local dialects here. Every afternoon when I am at the bakery I always give him a free piece of bread. When I hear him shuffling outside the bakery I go over hand him his bread say, “Mbote” (greetings) and then he shuffles away and sits in the dirt slowly eating the piece of bread. Some days he will just lie down on his back in the dirt usually close to some shade and eat his bread. Mao is starting to become part of my routine at the bakery. If I don’t see him I begin to think about where he would be. Yes, he is a special character
So there you have it: the most interesting character here in Aru. I hope that by the time I leave he will speak one word to me or that maybe I will figure some interesting history about his life (who knows maybe he did escape from prison, or perhaps he really is a prophet).

I think I will share just one interesting character for now, but I will definitely share more.

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