Εν τόπω στυγερώ - En un sitio atroz - In a flagitious place - Dans un lieu abominable

Σκέψεις - Thoughts - Pensamientos - Réflexions - Riflessiones - мысли

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Location: Πλανήτης Γη - Tierra - Terre - Earth

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Synopsis in Africa

Since my arrival in Africa every time I found myself not surrounded by friendly people who wanted either out of curiosity or sincere interest,to talk to me, I felt this excruciating urge to write; write about my thoughts, my surprising experiences, or these magical moments that you deeply realise where you are and what you are doing resulting to tears of joy and emotions. I rarely managed to do so because I had too much in my mind to be able to put my thoughts in order and make a coherent text out of it.

This moment I find myself in a mini bus on my way to Swakpmund on the Atlantic coast of Namimbia. The big sign in the mini bus clearly indicates "certified to carry 23 passengers seated and 0 standing". I can count 32 seating heads and 5 standing; not counting the tiny children of this San family that seems to be in another worry-less world. A herd of Oryx just crossed the road and obliged our driver to break; a difficult task when you are driving an overloaded bus at 150 km/h. That was the third time he had to slam the breaks after a cute worthog family and a group of Elans decided to camp on the asphalt. By now I am used to it. I continue to calmly chew on my dried koodoo, springbuck and zebra meat as if nothing has happened.

I often catch myself wondering whether what I live is real. Whether this elephant that just passed-by is a creation of my imagination, whether I really heard the lions roaring a few hundred meters away from my campsite or if that was really a crocodile that came out in the small patch of sand by the river where I was only just swimming the day before. I question myself whether I really got healed by a traditional San (Basarua) doctor without me telling him what my health problem was; did he really just point at me, grabbed me, rubbed his head on my stomach and felt exactly what I was feeling even if he was completely intoxicated? Are the secrets and the scary black pastes the snake healer shared with me real? Did his potions really brought that boy back to life that the "western trained doctors" considered a lost case? Is it true that the whole village gathered on a Sunday morning in my honour to dance and sing their traditional music? Did I really swim down the zambezi river of my childhood dreams and did I really meet people whose language sounds like a seemingly random series of clicks that had not seen any black or white humans until they were well into their twenties?

I look around me, I see the immense southern African bushy fields, I realise that to merely move my arm I would have to ask at least 3 people to move first, I hear the blasting music from the speakers (in Africa it seems as if all sound devices from voices and stereo to mp3 players and TVs, have a binary mode of function: either off or at maximum volume) and I understand that all this is real (as I am writing these lines a majestic double rainbow appeared throughout the vast savannah peppered with gigantic ant hills) I am not imagining it, it is not an image from a documentary on my screen, nor is it short stories out of the diary of a 19th century explorer. It is what one lives and experiences if one comes to Africa with an open heart, an open mind and with no expectations or prejudice. It is not beautiful or ugly. It is just another world, another way of understanding the universe and how it works. I do not see Africa from a folklore, cute, curious point of view anymore. I have realised that there is immense, deep wisdom and knowledge of humans and of nature here and the totalitarianism of the Western thought and of judeochristianism is threatening to make it extinct in less than 2 centuries.

I am a scientist by training but after experiencing things that until recently I considered fairy tales and local mythology I realise that I have only been taught a tiny part of reality; that each civilisation, each human, each society is creating their story to describe their human experience and their interaction with their surroundings. Each story has its use. Some are more detailed or sophisticated than others. However, none is more valid than other. They are all beautiful, creative, at times methodical attempts to describe a deep reality that does not exist in the first place. Each one of them enriches our understanding of the universe and allows us to improve our chances of survival and well being of humanity. There are senses, feelings, abilities that we have shut out and do not develop. For me, getting to know other civilisations is all about that: discovering and adopting one more point of view, optic, facet of the human experience.

There are numerous other universes out there waiting for us to discover them and most importantly live them. Overthrow your dogmas in your heads, go out and learn.

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Blogger Jackie Bui said...

Je te reconnais bien : )
It was a joy to read this. I was living the same urge to write when I was in Bosnia: people didn't speak the language, I had to much to express, so much going on inside of me. #excruciating urge to write; write about my thoughts

India buses, train & public places only have on max /off button too. #...TVs, have a binary mode of function: either off or at maximum volume

21 February 2013 at 01:29:00 GMT-5  

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