Big Up from Aribinda

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Realizations Revisited

What an adventure I just had. Started with the day in January when my folks called me. I was doing well. They tell me they are going to Spain to see my sister. Hell, they had just gotten back to Oregon from Mexico, where they were for a month. Being retired must be fun huh? Back to the story though. They tell me first they are going to Spain, hang out with my sister for two weeks, then they are coming to Burkina for two weeks. Then, my mom tells me they want me to come back to Spain with them for a little while to take a vacation with them and see my sister. Of course, I was stoked. February was the hardest month for me. The peaks and valleys have gotten fewer and further betwixt the past few months in Africa. I seem to trudge through desert valleys, figuratively, climb a small hill and peak for a few minutes, then start trudging again through an arid wasteland of frustration, feelings of not belonging, sadness. I just have to get out of village more huh?

Having already talked about some of the things my folks and I did while they were in-country, I turn to Spain. A small preface to Spain has to include mentioning olives. Aye aye aye, what olives! I ate so many, maybe the best olives in the world. Riding the fast train from Madrid to Seville and regarding all the olives groves, the varied landscape, that was a breath of fresh air. Spent most of my time in Utrera at my sister's house. Utrera is about 20 minutes south of Seville on the fast train. I would like to thank Amanda right now, my sister's roommate, for putting up with mine and my parents' shit. Cheers girl, I hope we didn't bug you too much! Utrera was a cool little town, the streets lined with orange trees, some trees bursting with them. I wanted to pick the oranges, but my sister told me no one does that. They are of a variety no one eats. Everywhere you look, splatted oranges on the ground. Seemed like such a waste, coming from Africa. But, that's the life here. As far as walking around Utrera, well, I had just come from Africa. Therefore, I looked like a 'giddy.' Don't know if I spelled that correctly, but that is someone who is dressed strangely, or not in the rather metro/fashionable way that most Europeans do prefer. It was funny to watch the Spanish heads turning about 270 degrees, tracking your every move, probably thinking 'That person doesn't know how to dress. Lousy American(s)!'

But Utrera was beautiful. The weather was great, but I was cold. That's not a stretch of the imagination, me being African and all now. Heat is a constant thing for me, avoiding the sun a must. I drank and ate (too much!) to my merriment. Had a blast. It was good meeting Devlin, Sam, Claire, Ellen, Amanda, Amanda's friends Abbie and Andrea, and finally Colleen (hope I spelled that correctly, and I hope you are feeling much better girl!). We went to Seville for two days. Man, La Catedral was awesome. Giralda tower was way cool. Wanted to pee on the purported grave of Cristopher Columbus, but there were too many other tourists around, hehe! Went to the main bull fighting ring of Seville. I didn't know it was so complex. Interesting, and OK, if you eat the bull after you toy with it. Then, I was in Madrid for three nights with my folks. Good times, probably the best times were when we went to the Prado and Thyssen Museums. Saw Goya, Modigliani, Dali, Picasso, Monet, Gaugin, Rodin, Van Gogh, all that and more. I think Goya and Dali blew my mind the most. I knew Van Gogh and Gaugin were ridiculous already, but Goya's dark stuff was incredible. I mean, when I get back, I want to get some copies of Goya and Dali, jeez!

But, as I always do, I am going to harp on the fortunate people, comme moi. We can do almost whatever we want to do. My neighbors and friends here, the villagers, some will never set foot out of the reality, the harsh reality, that they live day-to-day. They are tough. Some tell me I am tough because I come here to live a communal life with them. Bullshit. I will be here for another 17 months roughly, that's much different than a whole lifetime spent sitting on a cart lashed to a donkey, steering the poor ass towards the water pump. There I was, one day, walking through the Prado, listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers on my MP3 player. The next day, there I was back in Burkina. I realized how good I got it when I was flying over Aribinda. We probably flew really close to right over my village. Man, what a life I live. I am truly blessed.

Again, think about somebody less fortunate than you and give thanks to your parents or whomever for hooking you up. And all countries like the US, France, Belgium, China, they all exploit poor countries like Burkina. For all of those who feign indifference, get it right. Your government, if you're American, killed Patrice Lumumba and propped up Joseph Mobutu for so long. Thanks, Dwight Eisenhower. That's just continuing the suffering that the Congolese had to go through, also thanks in part to Belgium and King Leopold II, another known scumbag. There, I said it. Enough of my diatribe.

Do your part. Give to someone less fortunate, reduce your carbon foot print, there are a lot of things you can do. OK, much love goes out. To my family, I miss you already. Know how much I love and cherish you! I will see you all again soon.


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