Postcard

I can’t successfully write about what life is like here. I t just doesn’t work on paper. I don’t have the skills to convey the enormity of the differences of life in one of the poorest villages in one of the poorest countries of the world. I can’t describe my emotions to life here without seeming paternalistic, condescending and wishy washy with admiration and love for the people here. I keep wanting to sum up my experience here so far, to give people a lucid postcard but I don’t think it’s attainable. Postcards are dead! Postcards also don’t seem to reach their destination from here – GamPost is no very reliable.

Here is a postcard.

I stare through cement squares at donkeys pestering right angles of women washing kaleidoscopic clothes, with children squeezed into buckets beside them, legs and arms akimbo. The barb wire fence entreats the already clean and dry clothes to stay a little while longer in its searing talloned grasp, the wind invites them into the dust. A distraught infant wails through a mask of bubbles, its mother gingerly scrubbing the introverted dirt of its entire body. A slither of a girl, a young girl no more than nine, a crimson sheet knotted around her waist, taps the water pump ineffectively. A cliff of shoulder blade juts and highlights the sun whilst she banishes a couple of tottering goats, brazen enough to intrude. Moments later she feels empathy with the goats. Two uniformed school boys stream into the postcard, ejecting from their battered bikes gracefully. A brace of monosyllables has the girl backing away from the pump. She reties her skirt, briefly exposing two twizzles of leg. The boys in gleaming bleaches shirts, reflecting their morning spent staring at white scratches on black boards, are the pilots in this third world war. They both have one and a half American flags on their backs – 75 undeciphered stars – cheap Chinese patriotic string bags are strewn around this part of unsuspecting Africa, ready to disintegrate and merge into dust.

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