The morning I left had many uncertainties but one certain thing is that I was coming back to you. I left with a heavy heart and was worried that the plane would not take off due to the weight. From up there you are a beauty. Through the turbulence, nausea, and heartbreak you still spoke to me silently. Remember you are my son and parents have something for their sons.
It has been months. I have been meaning to call home. To send a postcard because they who went before us taught us that. To ask about my brothers and sisters and more importantly about how you are doing but days have melted away like toffee in a child’s mouth. People have asked me about you and all the time I have told them that you are doing well. They have required me to compare you and her. Some want me to take sides. I don’t because you taught me well.
Mama, I just learned that here in Africa, Malaria and HIV are leading killers but homesickness does more damage. A home sickness bug bit me once and I suffered the symptoms for days. You have always taught me to soak in the moment, to get out and live. Mama does not want me sad, I said to myself. Since that ordeal, I take each day as it comes. I dance to the tune of Chewa drums and scream as the gule mask dances perform their cultic dances. Yesterday I saw boys litter the sky with paper kites. The lean boys planted kites all over a football pitch sized area and let them loose in the wind. Loose but not free. That is how I feel mama, I may be far but I will forever be attached to you. Attached to you in an invisible cord, like the thin string that held the kites. I still remember that invisible does not represent absence.
Our teachers didn’t tell us that magic is a mash-up of love and passion. I now believe in magic. It has charmed me twice. Magic happens in nature and art. I was alive when he played his saxophone, I was lucky I saw him play it. He touched it, the Midas touch. He serenaded it and poured out his soul into the shiny instrument. And when he breathed life into it, it came alive. Dry bones. Together they rose, and rose and rose, defying gravity, not wanting to come back to a world of mediocrity. He whipped the locks of hair in his head back and forth, enjoying the moment. He played because he loved it, he is jazz itself. That is when I discovered I was lost, captured by a wave and dragged away to waters beyond the horizon. He is Erik Paliyani. He played alongside the legendary Hugh Masekela back then and boy did the skill rub off.
She is different. She has a big clear sky, like one big window overlooking a blue ocean. Her clouds are higher and thinner. The better part of land is flat but not devoid of features. She is like an aunt from another land who comes with new things. Her jewelry is odd but suits her plain features. Giant boulders, deep river beds and an incredible lake. I hear she has a beautiful mountain too. This aunt cooks delicious food, but it is new to my palate. She is different but has a warm presence. Her children, my cousins, have so much life they play, dance and sing. Her daughters are amazing and peaceful like deer on a plain.
Mother, how are you doing? I know things are not easy but strength has been your portion. The rain has fallen through all gates of heaven and my siblings have drowned. It is painful when a parent buries a child, literary. I hear they have subsided, the pregnant rivers no longer carry bridges and livestock. That they vomited out trash; plastic bottles and papers. It is annoying and insane of them. I hope the grass grows faster, that you may be covered with a green coat, and beautiful flowers too. You love butterflies and the gentle touches they place on your skin. They will come dancing in the wind like crazy fairies.
I am also sad that things have changed politically. People have turned into big gluttons and want everything for their stomachs. They have stolen and sold what should be free. In their unjust ways, they have rubbed scorn on you. Tukae na Uhuru na Amani has changed to Tuvumilie uongozi mbaya. It is disheartening that those who should be fighting corruption are silent. Silence is not good as it indicates death. Be strong for us mama. Let us eat of you. Let plants shoot from your crust and grow edible fruits.
I have to go. It has been good keeping in touch with you. It has helped me open my heart to someone who understands me. I will write again soon and hope that the story will be good. Maybe I will have found love then and the problems you are facing will have melted.