Monday, June 18, 2012

African storytelling...

It's beginning to dawn on the Boy that his mama's childhood was very different than his own.  We're in the early stages of planning a trip back to Tanzania and he's started asking questions of what my life was like there.  For every story I tell him, a million more flood my memories.

I thought, since this is my blog and all, that I'd write some of them down here.  I need to do that anyway.  There are Things about me that my children need to know.  One day, it might help them understand why I think and act the way I do.

Start at the Very Beginning...

The heat...unlike anything I'd encountered in my short five years on this earth.  The mass of bodies packed into the small space of the airport.  But most vividly of all, I recall a moth the size of my hand...I fixated on it as my parents worked their way through customs and immigrations.  I also remember being mesmerized by the soldiers, old Russian AK-47s slung casually over their shoulders, standing about.

Summer of 1977 and we had just arrived on African soil.  Jos, Nigeria, to spend six weeks with my grandparents.  They were serving as hostel parents of the boarding school my dad had attended whilst growing up, having moved to Africa when he was five-years-old as well.


We were going to stay with them for a while before heading further south to Kenya where my parents would be enrolled in language school to learn Swahili prior to our move to Tanzania.

I don't remember much of our time in Nigeria.  Bits and pieces stand out. Trips out exploring the country side.  A leprosy colony where we watched residents make lace and other crafts to sell.  Gramps introducing my sister and I to "slime" and showing off his collection of halloween masks.  

The Lantana plant will forever be associated with that time in my brain.  It was my first time seeing the tiny bunches of flowers and they were growing everywhere.  I remember thinking they were fairy bouquets.  

Bougainvillea, Jacaranda and Mango trees will always be associated with the rest of my years in Africa, but the Lantana flowers still bring back the special time spent in Jos with my grandparents.  


Meadowlark said...

Looking forward to hearing these stories!!!

We called Lantana "fruit loop plant" when we lived in SoCal. It was several years later that I learned the real name.

Julia said...

Can't wait to read more! Those "old" pictures are wonderful.