I spent the last few days out of sorts. At a particularly low point I even consider booking an early flight home, perhaps with a brief sojourn in Zanzibar. I read "The flame trees of Thika" and a couple of PG Wodehouse’s finest Psmith tales. On Thursday I feel a little better and I decide to face up to my fans in Kisesa. Baba Lau is up at the shamba at Bujora and I join him there for a relaxing afternoon preparing food. Maimune and Emmanuelle are there too but whether they have got the message or are simply showing more restraint in Laurian’s presence they manage to keep a respectful distance.
Laurian tells me he is going to offer the two feral children Mattius and Pascal a place to live on his shamba. He needs someone there to look after things when he is in town and it will be a big help to them to have their own place. He also has 12 acres of land in Kisesa that he is not using productively at the moment. He figures that with a little management from himself and Leo he can house up to 10 children and feed them from the 12 acres. So the Kisesa Orphanage Center is born. He had been meaning to get it started sooner but what with his brothers funeral he hasn’t had time. He tells me that there have been four funerals in Kisesa this week- all victims of AIDS, though the families try to keep it quiet. We eat early so I can get back to town- for the record the rice is so sweet you could eat it on its own.
I return to Mwanza in a better mood. On Friday I head down to use the internet cafe but my favorite place- The Munich Internet cafe on Station road- is having problems with its DSL link. On a whim I decide to head out to Bwiru and within the hour I am sitting on the porch of my parents old house at the Boy’s Secondary School sipping fanta with another Emmanuelle- the chemistry teacher and his friend Steve.
My story always gets a laugh and a smile from people and this is no exception. He asks me if I know the big rock behind the house and I say of course I know elephant rock! Didn’t I use to play there when i was a child. We walk up there together and I am surprised to discover a cluster of houses even right there at the top of the hill.
A cassava field buts right up against the rock and groups of students seem to have used the rock to leave memorials of their visits in bright blue red and white paint. But the sheer drop to the valley below is just as exhilarating and the view down to the lake just as beautiful and I ride my bicycle back to Mwanza in a distinctly cheery mood..