Africa Revisited

Africa Revisited

The wind blew off Lake Tanganyika causing the coconut palms to whisper in the gentle breeze. I was sitting on a hard wooden chair in the courtyard of an elderly man named Musa. As the sun slowly set over the lake in a fantasy of red, I watched Musa’s family as they went about their preparations for the evening. The teenage daughters returned from the nearby river with clay pots of water balanced on their heads. One of Musa’s wives caught a red hen and handed it over to my traveling companion Hilali who carefully faced Mecca and then slit its throat in the proscribed Muslim way.¬†Small fires were started with a hot ember and water was heated for our baths. This water was then taken into a small grass shelter and I stood on granite stones and poured the hot water over my head with a large cup – feeling clean and refreshed from the long day of travel. We sat around a table in the courtyard and sipped hot tea as we watched the moon begin to rise. The little boys herded up the Muscovy ducks and guided them into their reed pen. The pigeons flew into their mud built dovecot, and after much cooing and jostling they settled down for the night. The chickens put themselves to bed in their hen house built on ground level.¬†One little chick was afraid to enter the dark doorway until she was the only chicken remaining outside. Finally the mother hen in a pique of anger came running out of the chicken house and grabbed the chick by the neck...