Friday, October 5, 2012

october dust yarns...

                                              (taken a few months ago. now there is no more green left. anywhere.)
I’ve been meaning to write all this deep and meaningful prose about water in these parts. There isn’t any. That’s the thing. Every day when I drive down the hill to school and back again, I watch people walking from miles, with strings of donkeys and herds of skinny cattle, towards the two watering points between here and school. The watering points are always colourful affairs from all the buckets around the tap.  Children flitter around them, like ragged wind torn butterflies, playing games in the dust. I watch this and think about the world across the sea. The First World. How spoilt it is. I am repulsed by the billions that are spent to keep nations from nose diving into debt. The fat bankers that make millions. How much does one person need? The trouble is that there isn’t any cash left in the first world. It’s been melted into plastic and computers. Why does the world go bananas then? Oh. My. God. Where’s all the money gone? Well. You’ve bloody well spent it, like water, mind, and have been living off air and plastic since. That’s why. Here people have no water, no electricity and at this time of year, not much food.  We live by cash here. Cash in hand. Japhet, who lives nearby, kept all his money in a hidey hole in his house. He went to go and get some the other day and the termites had eaten it. Fortunately for him Marc managed to salvage it at the bank because they hadn’t eaten the serial numbers. Japhet is lucky. Cash is cash and no one has cards. Here people don’t trust cards. Or cheques.  You won’t be able to survive without cash. Call it backward, but we laugh in the face of recession. We’ve never known anything else but recession this side of the equator. You’re very spoilt that side of the sea. You have responsible governments, no matter what you say. Even the unemployed have electricity and televisions and running water.

There are folks out on the plains here who have nothing. Nothing. Who sew scraggly maize out of the dust lands. There are no schools nearby. No clinics. No electricity. No water. Only wind. Except when it rains then the landscape turns into  turgid mud flats. They become inaccessible. You see children walking to school carrying their shoes so they aren’t eaten by the mud. Children walk for miles. There are no buses or trains or trams or taxis. Sometimes they leave home before the sun rises. But to learn is a noble and honorable thing. To learn is to hope. This time of year, the children walk tiredly home in the heat – surrounded by clouds of dust, following the tired skeletal herds. Tractors and water bowsers crowd and huddle around the only water point near the factory. Everyone is waiting for some rain, some water, some moisture, some greenness. That’d be nice.

The horses have finally broken through to Kim’s shamba. There isn’t much grass left on this one. Everyone is quite understanding about it so far. Grazing is a highly guarded affair. The Baker’s even have mzee william's cows on their shamba, for now. Sometimes my head bursts with trying to equal worlds. It doesn’t balance. In the gentle twilight, I saddle up the spotty one, and we head out. We try and work a little in the school ring. But there are too many things to watch – the wide views flung far and beyond, the rainbow, which means there must have been some water falling somewhere out there. We pootle up Baker’s hill. The wind is howling at the top. Wendigo style.  But the horse and I, we don’t care. We stand like Braves, still like boulders, staring narrow eyed at our desert kingdom below. The wind tears at our hair, twists and dances and flattens the dry threadbare grass which the horse nibbles at with long teeth. It will rain again. We must  be patient. We plod home. Happy and full of heart, waiting for the late moon. 

Perhaps it will rain after the next moon. Damian says mid october but then he's always been completely rubbish with weather predictions... I need a sailor's advice. Someone who can see rings around the moon and can tell clouds apart.

toodely toot, y'all. bisous X X X dusty boot ones behind the stables. x j


elizabeth said...

Yes, we are spoiled rotten here and whinge about absurd things.
Hope rain comes soon.
Your world is so very different from our over-civilized one.
Sending lots of love and a rain dance.

Bill said...

I've read, a non-fluctuating two degree rise in global temperature will probably result in water and agriculture wars.

We are all in trouble and governments seem hapless/helpless.

Nicola said...

What a desperate, desperate situation. Having come from a 3rd world country to a first world country, has been such a culture shock - even 6 years on. The most appalling thing I've heard is; 'Well, they can't complain, they have the good weather.' Some people just have no idea.

Anonymous said...

Usually I like your posts a lot. And agree with them. But in this one there is something which disturbs me. I read it over and over and think you are using the word "we" inappropriate. It sometimes suggests that you are one with the people from your area who have to line up for water, whose children have to walk to school, etc.

Well, your children are going to school by plane. Not every day but still it is something which most people in the first world can't afford. And if we all could... imagine the impact on climate change...

& I also assume you have a water tank?

From what I read I make up that your lifestyle is more luxury (material and immaterial) than from most people in the first world. Next to that your family income depends on the very rich from the first world people.

Dawa Chungu

Janelle said...

Dear anonymous. Thanks for the input. In fact, I don't include myself with the majority of people below the poverty line. If I have given that impression, then forgive me please for my poor syntax. We do all live by cash here and not cards, perhaps that is more what I meant. I am fully aware that I am one of the privilege few that have. Best. Janelle

Anonymous said...

Asante sana for your reply and good to know that I read it wrongly. I've met to many people who think they are among the poor just because of the fact they live within them. Luckily you are not like that.

Dawa Chungu

Janelle said...

Karibu. And happy to know you read my writing. Funny, I didn't like this water post. It bothered me too. These things are hard to write about, I find. Wishing you a good week. Best, janelle.