16 August 2008
Happy Birthday Mom!
I woke up from my nap suddenly, thinking I was on the beach and the tide was coming in, about to turn my relaxing nap into a soggy sandy mess. But, of course, I am not on the beach. Even awake though, I could still hear the waves crashing, coming closer and closer. Then I realized that I was hearing the rain pouring down on the tin roof next door, although it hadn’t yet reached our compound. Quickly, the winds roared and pushed the cloud over to fill my room with the deafening roar of a hard rain on a tin roof.
Here’s a quote from The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver:
(p. 235 in my copy)
I wish the people back home reading magazine stories about dancing cannibals could see something as ordinary as Anatole’s clean white shirt and kind eyes, or Mama Mwanza with her children. If the word “Congo” makes people thinking of that big-lipped cannibal man in the cartoon, why they’re just wrong about everything here from top to bottom. But how could you ever set them right? Since the day we arrived, Mother has nagged us to write letters home to our classmates at Bethlehem High, and not one of us has done it yet. We’re still wondering, Where do you start? “This morning, I got up...” I’d begin, but no, “This morning, I pulled back the mosquito netting that’s tucked in tight around our beds because mosquitos here give you malaria, a disease that runs in your blood which nearly everyone has anyway but they don’t go to the doctor for it because there are worse things like sleeping sickness or the kakakaka or that someone has put a kibáazu on them, and anyway there’s really no doctor nor money to pay one, so people just hope for the good luck of getting old because then they’ll be treasured and meanwhile they go on with their business because they have children they love and songs to sing while they work, and...”
And you wouldn’t get as far as breakfast before running out of paper. You’d have to explain the words, and then the words for the words.