Babel: Stranger than Fiction

When I carried a smile on my face all the time. This ever-present part of my costume, look, wardrobe, and expression. It was my white flag.

“Look, I like to just be, I want to talk to you but don’t bring your shit, opinions, and too much violent babel over here!” That is what the smile was about. I didn’t need another group of cowboys, outlaws, and sass talking women in my life. I have a family. They had shown me a lot of that already.

My smile was also my way of hiding the beast, the shadow, and the opposite in my clutches. The smile was an innate room for the sadness, disappointments, and rough housing I had inside of me that looked like me. The critic who let me know when something was wrong. I ignore just about anything now. To some degree I must. I must come stepping back into my eyes to peer out and see what is going on. I have gone on a soul retrieval before to go and get the little girl that tried to hide in the underworld below the trees in a room, thinking she might be safer there. Even when I placed her in safe keeping inside a part of me I knew she would like- I still have to meditate constantly and walk very slowly sometimes to stay behind my eyes.

How I am feeling and one thing I have learned is not to listen to no one. I will listen to my gut, but I don’t take opinions lightly anymore because I have realized those who give opinions are probably afraid of something I am or could do. They want things to be designed their way for their comfort. Women I looked up to, the men who did things I wanted to do. The people I loved but walked away from because I didn’t need another disappointment and i could leave just as fast as they could.

Power says that doing such things will make you lonely. Indian gurus and Mexican sorcerers say that doing such things will make you detached, ready, and happy.

I am both.

I came to another country town with my backpack too heavy for some reason. I walked into another man who had far too much clothing in his sack. Toys to play with including his shaver. The most I brought I gave away recently. I won’t speak too far on these things because what I did has already been done. I gave away my Uno cards. I gave away my hacky sack play toy, because there is no one to play it with. A few articles of clothing I had to be brave and cry a little have also crossed the counter at the local thrift store. The bag they came in went to and I still have a heavy backpack because I refuse to get rid of my hand blender which has a food processor and attachable mixer handle. A woman wants and needs her smoothies.

We, me and the stanger, had been at a local man’s house pulling weeds out of his garden for room and board. What a kind stranger he gave me a pair of his pants, which are very comfortable by the way. He gave them to me and I wear them a couple of days throw them in the wash and put them back on. So comfortable. I just change my shirts.

A few days of fun and then he wanted to spend a major holiday in a bigger city. He’d met someone online and he wanted to see the fireworks. I felt I might miss him but when he left I didn’t so much. I helped to drop him off at the bus station and went with the local man to buy mouse traps for his home. I wanted him to buy the humane ones that catch them and you drive a bit away and let them go. He doesn’t like to listen to anyone either much so he brought the ones that you put the cheese in the middle of the trap and the trap snaps and kills the mice. When we woke up the next morning I think he made the mice really angry. They had bitten a few apples, thrown the walnuts, and pooped on the stove. I thought damn! You made them mad!

I haven’t really been singing. I used to but they were the same songs and I had gotten tired of them. I felt like I wasn’t giving it my all. I stopped singing the same old songs with hope that I would find new ones to sing and that I would sing them out loud so that the spirits I like would have songs to hear.

I have been in my own world. I figure this is necessary for me to come to my eyes. I have been helping foreigners improve their English. They have been teaching me French. I have even signed on to help a man who speak Arabic. Yesterday a man who speaks Portuguese reached out to me. He wants to improve his English and asked if I would talk to him. In return he would teach me Portuguese. Well first he asked if I was interested because he didn’t see it in my profile. I wanted to say no, I am not interested in Portuguese. But then I thought here is an opportunity. Here is a free opportunity to learn a language you don’t know. A language you haven’t cared about. Maybe you could use it some day or at least have it around. So I said yes. I need to say yes more.

Now when I am talking to someone my languages have been mixing up. I say Hola, Guten Morgen, Comment vous-tu? Oh dear. But what I most love about it is that no one has an opinion about it. The only ones I hear now is the ones where someone is correcting my spelling or context. Far away in a land that I do not know I can be myself. I can speak my quirks. One man wanted to know why I kept a green hoodie on. I shared the quirk I have about my neck and ears being cold. He nodded. The guy I dropped off at the bus stop the other day, he has the same quirk. I didn’t share mine with him he said it himself, that he doesn’t like the wind at his neck.

He was the second person to share his babel with me. A list of words while he tried to convince me I should drink hard cider with him. I drank apple juice instead and asked him to write the list. I think he had two drinks. He wanted me to write it. He only got excited and really wrote the rest when he pronounce at the pub that I should learn a few cuss words to boot. The first one in German he shared was shit. We had a little in common. That’s my favorite cuss word in English.

A day and five hours from the country I called home I am embracing that I had better make promises to myself and keep them as best I can rather than not. I had better live life so that life doesn’t live me. I had better dance my ass off. I had better look and stop trying to atone for what I don’t control. Love now! Practice now! Learn now!

My paternal grandmother passed away last year. My Father put up some of his property and some of her’s to pay for her funeral. My cousin took it and the deal was he would be paid back in a year or he could keep it. The year past and my sister found out about the deal. Which meant the property we had been told since we were little kids would belong to us when my grandmother passed and my dad was no more, might not belong to us anymore. For some reason as I listened to my sister’s very violent rant about what she wanted to do and who she was going to cuss out in a more white way sounded so beneath what I wanted and how I wanted to deal with this. I want no more parts of it and the only thing I could think of was that I hope my Papa who made it so clear before he died that the only way land could pass from one person to the next in our family was through each other and there could be no outsides, wouldn’t be disappointed with me.

That’s why my sister was so angry, my dad has only his children and his land but no real male son to inherit his “place”. We are his “sons” to carry on his line. I was thinking as she went on and on that I would give my son my last name to be sure my great great grandchildren could find their blood line. My dad had passed the land to our cousin and once our cousin was gone it would pass to his children and in his line. Yep pretty biblical and royal I know.

My cousin tried to use his best speech to explain why this was a good idea. My sister tried to use her most diplomatic cuss words to explain to him why he could kiss her ass and be thankful she couldn’t hurt him. My great aunt just held her head a little low, I think because she has witnessed her family unravel and the new generation speaks to each other like so.

I snapped my fingers at my sister and asked her to let it go. I thanked her for dealing with it, somehow she felt that dealing with it she was protecting me. She said she will load and I can shoot and that’s how we are supposed to be. She said while I was over here with peace she had been dealing with those MFers for me. I thought I want nothing to do with this. I wouldn’t like to have anything to do with them. I wear a smile for them. My smile says look this is my white flag… mask. It is and it isn’t real. It is partly a I love you too much to come down to your level and underestimate you, it’s partly don’t come over here with that bull Scheisse, and it’s partly don’t make my beast leap out and tear you to shreds I am holding it back for your safety and the care of what some may call my karma. Trust me you want non of this.

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A tale of Isolation

Yesterday I was sitting at a table attempting to calm my breathing but my quick heart beat wasn’t helping and the feeling in my right arm wasn’t helping either coupled with the sensations in my chest. I wasn’t afraid of dying I was however concerned of my bodily reactions. So I called a center and they said Ma’am your symptoms are for emergency care. So I finally got off it and admitted I think I needed to go there for the up tenth time because if I went anywhere else they would send me there. Now here is where everything took a turn:

We walked in. I sat in the chair. I was leaning over because now I had to adjust to the smells. The woman behind the counter said what’s the problem ma’am. I said I was experiencing radiating sensations in my chest and my right arm feels funny. My friend standing behind me told me I should tell them everything. So I said okay just so you know I feel funny in my uterus too but my periods coming ( I turned and said sorry Chris, he said no problem). The woman said how long has this been going on. I said for a few days it went away and then I was feeling it again that day. Then Chris said tell her about when you were hospitalized in Africa. the woman said where in Africa ma’am were you hospitalized. I said Burkina Faso. She said ma’am where is that. I said West Africa. And shit. got. real.

First she put on a mask. then she made me put on a mask. then she told the people around her who also put on masks. then she stood up and there was more questions they took my passport they wrote down Burkina Vaso (not a misspell they thought I said vaso) then they had us move into another room. All the while I said what about my chest and arm here. Then another woman came out she had on full garb protection with a mask for her mouth and eyes they moved us into another room and I took my temperature and some vitals and started getting vague. Sadly she said people were scared and freaking out back there in the ER. I was like you…you guys are in suits and its really not helping (it wasn’t at all I started breathing faster).

I had to pee they wouldn’t let me out of the room they brought a toilet to me. Then after an hour (no one gave a care about my chest by the way as you can tell) I was just walking around holding my hand to my chest and they were like ma’am tell me again this and that. my temperature was 99 they were like that’s a slight fever so we are going to give you something for that. I didn’t want to take their medicine it was just 99. Then they moved us to another room which was far more isolated and taped off with a section in between where people were to place supplies and throw things out. Thankfully Chris was there he said, if they are so concerned where is his mask. I really laughed at that one. They never gave him one. Phone calls went out across the country and to the CDC. The county health person got involved. The head doctors of the Hospital got involved. Two came to visit us. One wearing the full garb and asking me questions. I really wanted him to get it right and I was so glad I did check before all of this even if it was in glancing about Ebola because I had to tell them. I never kissed anyone. I never so much as touched anyone much while I was there. I poop fine. and I don’t have a fever. But can we talk about my chest and the mere fact that I’m really hungry. I said I felt light headed I didn’t say I had a headache.

They told me I would likely have to stay there until they got my test results from the CDC back. We said how long would that be. He said probably a week or three days they were really trying. They had a room sectioned off for me (another one) but if my friend left he wouldn’t be able to come back in. Actually he probably couldn’t leave. He shook Chris’s hand and left. I got that sandwich.

Well after a few more hours or something another doctor came in without the full on suits and no mask at all. He said I’m sorry about all this but we had to make sure but the symptoms you are exhibiting doesn’t point to Ebola. You also aren’t anemic anymore like you were in Africa we feel you might have been dehydrated and that’s what made your counts off. I was thanked for coming in because I apparently showed them how ready they were if there was an emergency and they saw some ways they could improve. I was given a discharge sheet, a GI cocktail (oh my gosh it was like heaven) and sent on my way. I have pictures of course I didn’t know it was illegal but I figure since I was in isolation and no one else was around it was okay to take pictures. but here is one:

Of course more things happened but I think this is good. Good day people. Just so you know I feel okay again the GI cocktail did the trick and they think I might have some kind of bacteria. (that did not come from Africa)

iso

Today

What I liked about today was that I saw a dear brother of mine and we played flutes and drums together and he kicked my ass in chess three times. It truly taught me not to nurture during the game but go for the king by any means possible. Also plan ahead a few steps because setting up the center court isn’t good enough. I liked sharing with my friend about my experience with the car sharing program Uber and how I honestly thought one night that I could yell Uber and the people would pull over. I yelled it a few times before my friend Teri let me on that that doesn’t work and you need the app. If you can imagine my hand waving and gestures in the middle of a cool night. Anyway that was a side note.

What was difficult about today was an email I received and how I thought at first to ignore it because I wasn’t ready for a response. I was just going to let it be, read it, and admit how exhausted I was to myself. Then I felt how much it would just nip at me and so I let it all out in a reply. Not my best moment in the world but I felt it was a sit on the pot or get off moment. Not the best analogy either. But today I think I would rather be honest than hide which would have been probably a bit easier for me.

What I like about tonight is that I am in my room. I am here. and I am very appreciative of this moment.

When the fire spits ~ snake.

On the art of  Reinvention.

There was a passage in a book which hinted at the movement of the stars and the language we speak. for such a reason some stories I rarely recount anymore. for in the book I mention there is an age old belief brought to light. When we are born the light and placement of the stars and planets in the sky effects our mentality and therefore our behavior. We hardly think of the cosmic connection to the words we speak and the planets arrangement when the fire spits.

Fire in the context of words, language, logos. for it is thought when one speaks of a past event they recall the placement of the stars and planets. and it is the stars and planets memory connecting with the fire of our speech which is living and therefore a flame which could move in the placement recounted upon. or summon such a placement to the point you feel it as if it was happening or it tries to replay its’self. 🙂

It is no wonder why people feel during recapitulation that they are in the exact moment recounted and it is what one is willing to do in such a  moment which will determine if they will live out the night mare, addictive, or additive. If they will finally wrap it up and give the experience to the dark eagle in exchange for more life and more vitality which isn’t being sucked on like a breast filled with the sugary substance of comfort and fear of the unpaved. It is moments like such which will determine if you can begin anew, a whole new life. A life in which you decide if you will stay continuously on the carousel of dead horses or take the exit to the unknown and reinvention.

Which brings me to my next point. To reinvent yourself you must do the following.

Begin a new.

Do not bring up the past, leave it as the reference it is. Never to leave the library.

Do not talk to your self. ( chattering to yourself in your head, the chatter is usually about  old events and what you coulda, shoulda, woulda done)

When the fire spits make it count. Speak loudly to beings with fur and without two eyes to see. Stop using this and that to address what you see. Make up your own language fitting for you.

Be grateful to the stars and planets. For you know not what you do when the fire spits, the words spark.

cobra

What to do about the count pilgrim?

Visiting Africa has truly been a wild journey. Yesterday, Sunday, I was taken to a town called Dande. It was a while from the city of Bobo. Mostly I tried gesturing to people when they spoke or I used my un pau francias. Wasn’t feeling so great so I sat under a tree for most of the day with Stephan, Larry, and the other folks in the compound. The people are so relaxed.

Some of us took turns in a way shooing the goats from the food bowls. Baby chickens walked straight over my legs while I laid on a mat trying to rest.

The women of the compound were all active cooking foods, holding children, and assisting in offerings. When they saw me breathing slightly funny one came up to me with a blue cup with red water in it. They motioned for me to sniff the liquids. I did, my nose started running it was as if i had taken in cayenne pepper water. I could breath better which was nice. My nostrils however were burning.

I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to hang out with the women. Before it was all said and done I was placed on a stool and somekind of plant resin was burned while i held my head over the coals with my shawl to keep the smoke from escaping. A woman had grabbed me layed me across her lap and held me really tight, yep I needed a hug. i was offered something that tasted like donuts, and danced for the family with my shawl over my head in rhythm with beautiful music on the radio. I loved dancing for them they made sounds like eh’ when they liked something and one of the women danced too while singing the song she knew.

I needed to dance barefooted on the earth. I needed to shake off the winds around me and dance. Silly, theatrical, and like it is the medicine that brings me to myself again. I do imagine it was a sight to see.

But thats why I came. To tell a story, to dance and sing, to see and grow. To touch mama Africa hands and barefooted on Mama Earth. To say hello.

Call me a pilgrim if you will.

Today is Monday. It’s been a day no doubt. My blood test results spoke of iron deficiency and low counts in the iron and b vitamin departments. There are no real super veggies about except Moringa as far as I know. So I am going to take drastic action and eat meat voluntarily after 5 years of being a veggie lover. Oh goodness wish me well.

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Update: I ate chicken! Thank you thank you thank you.

Beware TMI

Last night Larry and a friend of his  whose name I don’t know took me to the clinque (thats how it is spelled). Opened the door for me and both of them sat on my bed as I waited for the doctor. I was in a room with three other people. A crone I imagine, who was lying on her side in and out of sleep and a child and her mother. The child was probably no more than four.

Then came the part I didn’t like…they wanted to check my blood. Prick one, my finger, prick two my arm. Cotton swab. Rest. As for the glucose IV bag by the bed I said no thanks for the sugar and three men tried to continuously convince me it was necessary to have the IV. It took twenty minutes then I sat all pricked and upset.

I noticed it but didn’t say anything but you know you have to leave it to someone else to say it. Larry said, Sabrina haha look girl over there iv no problem but Sabrina big problem haha. Everyone laughed. Very funny. On this.trip.I brought a big bag of candy chocolates and three blowpops. I had put the blow pops in my pocket that day and so being in a room with three people I gave them the three candies. Seemed very serendipitous to me.

Larry and his friend came in and out of the room keeping me company. Then came the next big deal. They put medicine in the iv that made me feel tired, then they wanted to put more in my arm. I said, oh my gosh what!  and everyone laughed again the elder in the room kept trying to convince me by pointing and making gestures and speaking french, Larry translated.After a long time I consented. They were trying to get me to relax and go to bed and the way they thought to do it was that way. It took twenty minutes, Larry must have known cause he said you feel sleep, and I finally couldn’t do it anymore I was out. So many dreams.

When i woke up it was just us.the women. They were sleeping under their blankets I was cold. I opened the door of the room. I just wanted the iv out of my arm. It wasnt easy sleeping with it in. I tell you one thing …I would like to donate blankets to hospitals in Burkina because there weren’t any. It was a cold night. The women must have brought covers from their home.

I went to the desk and woke the man who was the receptionist lying on the floor. I gestured that wanted the IV out because the bag was finished. He went to get the doctor who at first didnt understand probably because he had just woken up too. Then he thankfully removed it and I layed out to go to bed. About six in the.morning, or shall I say four hours later, a woman was washing the floor in the room she was so thorough that she was hitting the beds with the mop. Then about seven something i was still pretty much tired on the medicines. But awesomely I turned and saw Larry’s friend. He walked up to the bed lifted the mosquito netting held my arm and helped me out of the room. Larry was thanking the doctors who asked him do i smoke? No. Do i drink? No. Am I on any drugs? No.

Then he handed.over my blood test results and we were out. By the time I made it to the hotel I had many messages from friends wondering about me. Larry was adamant about bread, eggs, and tea.

One message from a friend was that I should come home. And to send them my info so that my ticket could be changed. But it was so late there in america and so early here I called the airline. They changed my ticket for free  because of all the hastle getting me here and because I had to come out of pocket. So that was great news. I just told them the truth.

I would like to go home early. They were nice about it. They just changed it and said something like ma’am have a great flight home.

What’s wild and this is TMI is that every country I have been to including Canada I have had to go ernestly but here nothing. I hope thats a good thing. But i have only been eating hot foods, and bottled water. I only stepped out once when an elder offered me food. I ate some of it out of respect. Whats cool is that she offered me moringa stewed. Larry’s friend whose name I didn’t know brought me Moringa seeds yesterday. If you know about Moringa…all it takes is a few seeds or a a dose of the leaves and it will give you lots of Vitamins and Minerals but at the cost of having to go ernestly to the restroom.

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A guide for a week p.2

Okay lets continue because these posts will become not so frequent if any at all since tomorrow I will travel to the country side to stay with a friends family. Which by the way is a very nice blessing and an opportunity to be immersed in the language they will use and see the place I have heard that remained free from colonozation, Gaoua.

So here in Bobo we arrived at a hotel that was finally cheaper than the rest. Thankfully because after being here for a week I reached out to three people asking them to borrow funds till I arrived in the states and could offer their money back. I dunno if it’s kosher to mention their name but I say thank you and can’t wait to fulfill my promise. So crisis averted we began a journey of venturing about this city….second largest in the country and I could see here the remains of the muslim traditions that sustained long past the atlantic slave trade. Wouldn’t you know I began to look at the features and faces of many people trying the see if I recognized any simularities. Not too much but I can say I saw the feature resemblances of many people I have seen in the states.

I saw textile makers sitting on the ground pounding fabric. Large tin tubs of dye. And journeyed further into the bush.

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I was amazed at how beautiful these large vast spaces of green are just outside the city. I looked around and was simply amazed. One place we journeyed to the car got stuck and we had to petition local folks of the bush to come help. It’s not the first time but it was very memorable the communal friendliness and how folks are willing to support one another. No problem.

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What do I enjoy about this place? It is the feeling that when you address a tree outloud, say hi to a creature, or offer food at the side of your plate. It is a norm! It was my new friend Larry who said….you pour some water for the ancestors, water for the kontombles, and water for good luck. I think that was before he realized that pouring water was an important practice for me. It is ancestral. My friend Larry was kind to introduce me to his friends who helped me along the journey. And thankfully to save money, because hotels are expensive and there are no guest houses like South East Asia and no hostels like other places either, I will stay with his family. Oh my a family compound I am so curious and would love to sit with the women. Except for one, most of the people I’ve met have been men. I would love to meet women, hopefully I can learn from them. I know for certain they will have so much to teach. Don’t think there is wifi so with that I will take more pictures and when I can keep you posted on the journey.