20-04-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo
Grandfather Kazungu knows that every man will never walk alone.
Perhaps, like so many down here, he was born in the right dimension.
Not the big metropolis, not the commercial town.
The small village.
The microcosm where almost everyone is related but where everyone lives on the other's land, where if Katana has corn and Mwachiro tomatoes, it is a given that the families will always eat polenta and tomato sauce together. Where if one is a bastard, he decides to leave before the others kick him out.
Yes, of course, Kazungu also knows that it is poverty that keeps them together, humble roots and unwillingness to change things for the better. The lack of individualism, of ambition.
Grandfather Kazungu knows.
So he prefers to tell Kitsao the story of his virtual friends who live eight thousand kilometres away from here, which, if you want to walk there, is like doing the Kakoneni-Malindi round trip every day for thirty-seven years, plus swimming across the Kilifi creek for another six years.
Many of them know almost nothing about Kenya.
Yes, of course, they have read many stories, they know the geography, they have seen films on TV, especially about the savannah and the animals, but also about Nairobi's slums and ethnic clashes, about the Masai and the white beaches of Malindi and Watamu.
But some of them know Kenya because someone has gone to live there, or visited it so often that they have been carrying it around for some time.
Carried along by a love that is sometimes incomprehensible (but when is love not, at least in part?) those "someones" do all they can to have their blood read, not the characters impressed on a keyboard, the walls of the heart, not the tapestry of the soul.
Because with that pure love, so distant from certain current logics as Africa is still distant from western civilisation, they are convinced that one can live happier.
Because those who have nothing, not only have nothing to lose, as sings that song by Bob Dylan that Kitsao knows because one of those "someones" one day made him listen to it and they translated it together into Swahili, little by little with the macaroni and cheese of an Italo-Malindian and a fifth-elementary of savannah...
Dylan may not know, or he knew and forgot: those who have nothing can choose the best!
"Among the things that cost little, very little" would add that wise grandfather Kazungu.
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by Leni Frau
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