Sunday, February 21, 2010

Furlough from the Maze!

Last night, the second of a saucy weekend, Papa Bear and I went to the Mine Action Group party to mingle with macho. Credit where credit is due, those men are men, and they spIurge on good booze to boot. I partook a few nice fingers of JD and Havana Club, AƱejo Especial, and learned a sweet lesson: Good liquor is a lovely way to get drunk if you can manage it. No hooch for me, thanks, even if they do brew it here. The truth is I'm no longer interested in discovering my surroundings, I'm biding time instead, making rent ‘til I can rejoin the brightest shining star I've known and the mom who made her possible. This begs the question: upon which prize to affix my gaze? The bright corridor of Now, or the sweet glaze of Memory?

Lately it's the latter – Life as a by-product of Waiting. Friendships have developed, Life has transpired and taught as she will in any bleak case, but I have dared not enter, and tasted not of the Unknown. I am a dog on a leash, content at least, to go back and forth from office to home to restaurant to dance, all with my own tribe, fearing the forest of shamans around us, dense as it is, and black.

On cue, this Sunday I explored the other side, for the fresh air of it all. The whole day was blanketed with cooling clouds, and the grey gold dust of late afternoon called me from this slumber, to venture outside the compound, on two feet for a change.

And I felt right at home, more than I have since I entered the padded maze 8 months ago. No aluminum containers or air conditioning on the back roads, just tukols behind woven bamboo fences, and people, mostly curious and respectful as I passed.

The golden haze of dusk made the whole scene immediately nostalgic. As I walked along in the idyllic silence understanding the trash, I came upon a hulking truck carcass from the 50’s, mottled yellow and rusty, with the faded inscription on the door, “Gift of the people of Great Britain – OXFAM.”

Rivulets of sewage and strewn trash did not obstruct my view of the gnarled, rocky street. I could see that this part of Juba was a close cry to its pristine Earth-self – not much concrete even, except for a patioed one-storey corner store here and there. I realized how little trash there was, considering rubbish disposal is virtually non-existent. We disappear our trash, clean and patriotic we are, consuming, forgetting, consuming, forgetting.

Asphalt and rubbish disposal have their place, and their repercussions.