Voyages & Découvertes

Sunday afternoon fever

Monday 22 September 2008 by Stephan Mardaga

Sunday is day of personal errands; without my car, just strolling and as much as possible, no taxis. This seems easy because families I always visit, live in the neighbourhood. As I left, the sky was quiet cloudy, but I noticed no rain and I opted for no excess baggage (coat nor umbrella) : a search for an adventure.

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Lucy Kamara

I decide to start the visit with Comfort and Lucy. The latter had called me during the mid-week, letting me to know that she had Typhoid fever which was worsening by the day. She was being treated at the nearest hospital (an injection daily). Though she was still weak, she was convalescent.

Lucy is a kind of lovely woman, mature and wise in judgement. My appreciation of her character bears fruit in her patience and intellectual ability, to always explain various aspects of Liberian culture that I do not understand. Furthermore, she speaks English well. She is grand mother, her baby grand daughter Mamina is pretty fine : this is my weak point. By the way, whenever I get there, I find a baby within 5 minutes in my hands.

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Mamina et l’auteur

The raining season is not feasible for everyone in Liberia because the economy is at the stand still, and more people remain home with less food. I am told that there is fish for sale at the Saint-Paul river bridge, and usually it is fresh. I left right away, heading there. I am accustomed with the area. Few minutes later, it started raining, I then sought shelter under a tent. There I met Eva Young, a guitarist-singer. While waiting for the weather to clear, we made friend.

Having successfully negotiated, I took possession of 2 magnificent fish in the tune of four kilos each. Impossible to go unseen with this, as all eyes were on me on my way back. Upon my arrival, Comfort chooses one and gave the other to Lucy. The mother of Comfort takes charge of cooking; happiness and the feeling of a nice Sunday afternoon was glarant. In the mean time, Lucy served me a plate of palm butter rice that I shared with Comfort, I had decided not to eat alone. A knife brought to cut the fish in pieces could not serve its purpose; insteat an axe was sent for. Dogs in search of food were seen around. A neighbour starting playing some music; at the front of porch of house, three girls were busy fixing their hairs, this would take the whole afternoon.

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Eva à la découpe

And there we go ! The rice is set to boil and the pieces of fish to fry. This shall be enough for the week. While the baby is sent away for her meal I then pick-up the opportunity to stroll to the Kollie family and make sa stop over to Boubakar for a cup of tea. Upon my return, I am surprised to meet Eva there with a guitar. As I sat right near, the baby was back in my hands. Lucy departed to the hospital for her injection, and return directly to relax in bed.

The meal is served, obviously well seasoned. The fish tasted a little bit strange.; but Comfort told me I was eating the gut. Eva took her guitar and, along with the children, we all sang and clapped our hands. Her songs included Liberian rhythms, reggae and even the Bamba. She accordingly gave me a list of songs so that I could find the chords on the internet. Friends of the neighbourhood, on their way from church wondered as to what was going on. What is happening here ? What are you celebrating ?

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Eva Young

Lucy is just awoken. In a spontaneous move, she ushered me in her house and offered me a bed-cover and pillow cases from Sierra Leone. Shortly she joined us, seeming to be well at this time. We sang together songs of joy filled with stupidities of the kind : "I can’t stop crying while looking at love films" or "A kiss on my lips sends me to the great beyond". All in all, we had fine time and exchanged jokes. Eva mother waked up, executing some dancing steps; a neighbour, irresistibly embarked on a lovely parade with her, amidst a great sheer from the crowd.

It is time that I leave. Comfort walked me away. The air is fresh during the rainy season and my return trip is very enjoyable. As we separated, I gave her a kiss : courtesy of friendship in my country. She is always surprised whenever I do it. Africans need so less for happiness : some fish, music and that is it. Likewise myself.

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