With Us

"Even if you're not a seeker,

still, follow us, keep searching with us.
Even if you don't know how
to play and sing,
you'll become like us;
with us you'll start singing and dancing.

Even if you are Qarun, the richest of kings,
when you fall in love,
you'll become a beggar.
Though you are a sultan, like us you'll become a slave.

One candle of this gathering
is worth a hundred candles; it's light is as great.
Either you are alive or dead.
You'll come back to life with us.

Unbind your feet.
Show the rose garden---
start laughing with your whole body,
like a rose, like us.

Put on the mantle for a moment
and see the ones whose hearts are alive.
Then, throw out your satin dress
and cover yourself with a cloak, like us.

When a seed falls into the ground,
it germinates, grows, and becomes a tree:
if you understand these symbols,
you'll follow us, and fall to the ground with us.

God's Shams of Tabriz says
to the heart's bud,
"If your eyes are opened,
you'll see the things worth seeing."


Thursday, October 23, 2008

What stories do your scars tell?

Again I will deliver my thoughts and notes at random because there is too much to recall. This is goign to be a long one, so feel free to enjoy, skim, skip, or ignore....

I think that when Swazi people whsitle it sounds more like the birds than the birds themselves.

I can spend hours watching geckos hunt moths on the ceiling. I will never stop being amazed at their ability to defy gravity and walk upsidedown.

There are many things that I can't stop staring at. A woman sat by the market in Swaziland with a live chicken wrapped in a plastic bag. The chicken sat calmly with its head sticking out the front watching people walk by. Inside the market I hear over the radio warnings that adulterers should be put to death. A billboard outside reads: "Thinking of raping a child today? Remember the consequences." Outside our camp in Mlilwane wildlife sanctuary a sign reads: "In Swaziland it is prohibited to possess illegal drugs, firearms, traps, snares, and catapults." Catapults?

Crossing the border into Mozambique our local minibus (the ones where you get to sit with people on your lap) had to wait while the man sitting behind me bribed the gaurd to let him through without his documents. Eventually the money was accepted and we were allowed passage. 30 min later we were pulled over by traffic police who inspected the goods on the bus and informed one man who had been told at the border that his "medicine" was okay that he couldn't have it... a nice corrupt way to ensure the border police can supplement their meager paychecks. All distances are further in Africa on a bus. Bus drivers are drunk or stop to buy things from eager sellers through the window... which is convenient when you need a loaf of bread or shampoo or literally anything because every time the bus stops you can make a quick transaction through the window. But the buses make up for lost time.... when one hit a small child it didn't bother to stop.

I wonder when I watch women carrying heavy loads on their heads with their babies wrapped around their backs if the bundle ever falls off and smashes their children? Probably not... they are very skilled at balancing.

Local music festical in Mozambique. Sangria. Local rum that will make you hallucinate. Thousands of drunk people falling over in the sand on the beach. Dancing. A drunk Tanzanian man follows us relentlessly and has to be paid off by our afrikaner friend to leave us alone. Our ride is too drunk to take us back to Tofo. It is 2 am. We walk down a dark road waiting to hitch a ride. Finally someone drives by and is nice enough to take us, They say they are happy to because we are American and they can practice their english.

Maputo is.... garbage, pollution, crumbled concrete, night life, portuguese/african culture, landmines, art, art, and art... we went to Ricardo Rengels photo exhibit on the history of oppression in Moz... unexplainable genius. It was freee and we were served wine and fancy appetizers. Tofo is.... seafood, palm trees, pristine beaches, clear water, seclusion, generosity. I can finally converse with people because the portuguese is similar to spanish. It is odd to be in a country recently riddled with landmines and to feel its new vibes. In the words of Neil from Isreal, "too much nice."

Yesterday we left Moz for Swazi again on our way back to SA. I walked across the border past a stray donkey walking the opposite direction. I wonder if he has a passport? In one day the weather went from brain melting hot to rain and explosive lightening storms. It was a candle lit night.

Rich, poor, generousity, greed, beauty, ugliness.... my head is spinning. I am learning things about the world and myself and that I never knew. I feel like I am living again. I am thinking again. Seeing again.

1 comment:

Carina said...

i love you caitie. your journey is really beautiful. i'm so happy you're there, and you're riding in minibuses again. i want to be in a minibus. what about a bodaboda. those are the best. find one for me and take an extra ride. keep writing. i love reading it. i can't wait to sit and drink tea and hear your stories when you return. wish i could meet you in africa.