27-02-2010 by Freddie del Curatolo
I was wondering years ago while I was packing yet another suitcase and packing boxes of winter clothes full of mothballs, intended for some relative's attic. "Why Malindi and not Santo Domingo, Havana, Puerto Escondido, Bali, Tenerife, Djerba, Phuket, Gabicce Mare...". When it comes to escape, it's the place you leave the important thing, not the point of arrival. But in this case, picking the fruit of the departure after the right ripening of a well thought-out choice, the destination is at the same time the zero and the zenith from which to start again, in the perfect alchemy between present and future, leaving the old plans and ancient hopes in the attic, packed and covered with mothballs like the clothes that I will no longer have to wear.
Because for those who do not have infinite resources but know how to be satisfied, there is work to be done, more with ingenuity than with tricks or certain games, because those who want to do it can do it and those who do not have much desire can still live, because we are in Africa but the official language is not Italian, because here there are no time cards to be stamped or timetables that it is compulsory to respect, because eight months a year there is sun and even in the remaining months the temperature never drops below twenty degrees, because here you get the stress of not having stress (and if you are smart you understand that paradoxes can be eliminated, not like mosquitoes), because nature exists and you can get in touch with it, without having to do six hours of traffic on the provincial road to go to a WWF oasis on Sundays or risk your life on the Serravalle. Because we Latins, we ancient Romans, it seems strange, we have something to learn from a childish civilization. Because children always tell the truth, they do foolish things but they are just little things, they make up for it and start again, but they are simple and sunny in their manifestations. At least we learn patience, which is a poor art but makes us gain health.
Because the kindly commodified mango is tastier than the genetically modified apricots, because the fresh fish on the grill, cooked on the balcony of the house in Viale Zara in Milan, does not come very well, because it only takes four hours off-road to feel in the centre of the world, in the Kingdom of the Animals. Because you can't take any more of that kingdom of animals that believe themselves to be the centre of the world and are just frightened insects. Because the "Big Brother" should be a gorgeous new friend you meet and not a fucking TV show for idiot voyeurs, because even though someone tried to take the mothballs with him, slowly, slowly, slowly, he'll end up with the mothballs. Only those who love Africa resist in this place, only those who transform their future into the present and learn to live the day to day can live in harmony with Malindi.
Time passes, for me it is now twenty years.
Today, thanks to the invincibility of the western world, many people consider this environment as the place where they can settle, where they can live a life on a human scale.
Maybe wondering first "why Malindi" and finding answers that will trigger a smile or even a little melancholy but, in short, a feeling! For those who don't ask themselves "why Malindi?", this (for goodness sake and luckily!) remains one of the many holiday places, one of the thousand exotic paradises with its merits and defects. "Karibu", it says here: welcome! It's useless and harmful but selling it for what it isn't, or telling that the sea is Maldivian or that the infrastructure is the envy of Sharm El Sheikh.
We have to adapt to what is there and have more respect than those who host us, teaching the children to respect their home more. It is worth it, because as the Poet used to say: "from diamonds nothing is born, from manure flowers are born".
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