Friday, August 5, 2011

place to be

I walk to the shamba (farm) every morning, little moths guiding me, stop by at Josehp’s place to say ‘Jambo’ to his family, and pick the pangas (machetes).
Some days I arrive to find the boys working already. They work tirelessly, they make fun of me when I call for a time-out and a water/banana/Cadbury’s Eclairs break every half-hour.
They want to finish the work as soon as possible.
With a swift, strong sweeps of the pangas, they clear the land, or rather breeze through it, while I struggle to master the swing, losing the machete several times in the process.
SosPeter mimics a Bollywood dance and asks me to teach them a hindi song that we can sing as we work together-he is the drama director of the youth group, after all. I can’t think of a good one.
We have visitors every day. Two boys listlessly walk towards us, holding a nile perch by its mouth. The boy jerks it towards me and laughs out loud when I get scared. Sometimes little boys minding their cattle pause and lend a helping hand, older women carrying water buckets from the lake pause and laugh. ‘Women don’t work in shambas or fish’, Joseph tells me.
When I am relieved that it isn’t a warm, sunny day but SosPeter disagrees. ‘African are like monkeys and baboons, we like the sun’, he says pointing to the sun peeking through the clouds
By day three, the land has been cleared, the seeds are resting in the seed bed shaded by leaves- thanks to the efforts of a few members of the youth group. Without them, it couldn’t have been possible.

Tomorrow is the Ploughing, Porridge Party. At 7 AM community members will gather at the shamba- there will be ploughing and digging of a compost pit and there will be porridge, which Maureen is preparing on an open fire outside.

It’s the place to be!

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