Saturday, October 18, 2008

Weird things that have happened to me in the past 12 hours

I got completely turned around while being driven to the house and felt like I was in an entirely different world than Bo, one that was regenerating after some catastrophic event, as the gas lights shone out from the simple wooden stands of street sellers. Just as suddenly, we were on the road home.

As I sat, waiting for the Minister of Health to come to the hospital, I heard the unfamiliar sound of sirens and realized that finding sirens unfamiliar in a hospital was, in fact, unfamiliar. Assuming a medical emergency and hoping that the hospital by some miracle had procured an ambulance, I stepped outside, to find six or seven green jeeps full of soldiers armed with AK 47s followed by white landrovers with tinted windows that hinted at the women in the cars, their finery and elaborate head wraps outlined in the silhouetting electric lights behind them. It was the First Lady, the Minister of Health, and their entourage of soldiers and police. They drove around the dirt area in front of the hospital and sped off.

I met with the Minister of Health as he ate his dinner and realized that it was completely insane that I was talking to such a high-level Sierra Leonean government official about how nice San Francisco is (he lived in the States) as he picked at chicken and fries with his fingers and I gripped a can of Coke (when given the choice between Fanta and Coke, before I could answer, the Minister instructed the caterer to give me the Coke because I was American).

We got our big generator finally set up yesterday and when it was turned on, I felt that I had never seen electric light before, it was so bright and cheerful in the house.

As I sipped tea and tidied the kitchen early this morning, one of the boys that does casual work at the house popped up at the window. He deposited a live monkey on the window bars. After I was assured that it wasn't for consumption (bush meat here is common), I watched it pick at the bugs and scraps around and was struck with how human it was. In fact, sitting there with its hand held just so to its mouth, it looked a little bit like my dear friend Gracie munching on a leaf of rainbow chard.

No comments:

Post a Comment