This is me

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Bukumbi, Tanzania, a small village on the shores of Lake Victoria. In front of the house I grew up in. One of the houses I grew up in.

If you could step into this picture and you’d turn around the corner, this is what you would find. Huge boulders, towering high above our large, once-chalk-white house.  Home to vervet monkeys, klipdas and myths of ghosts and  hyenas. A perfect playground on  long, sunny days. Immensely scary when storms rolled over the land, filling a purple sky with the unforgiving sound of thunder caught between rocks.

Washing on the line. Soaking wet clothes, dry within hours. Sheets, towels and t-shirts stiff as a board, the fragrance of sun soaked into each and every fiber. At night, after we had washed ourselves with the cold, slightly brownish water that reluctantly ran from the tap into the bathtub, my mother would wrap a sun backed towel around us, giving the sun a chance to kiss us goodnight.

When I think about my African youth, I think in sound and smell more than in words these days. Maybe I’ve used up all the possible words to describe the place, as I’ve spend years trying to note down the right sentences to describe the pain that leaving this great continent caused. Ledgers full of detailed accounts, books full of poetry to voice the deep, desperate longing which held me captive for years on end. And while I was writing this all down, it never once occurred to me that I might not have been so desperately longing for Africa, but just for the child that lived there. The little girl that I once was. Full of dreams. Full of  hope. Naively confident that she was destined for greatness. Sometimes I think about her now and I wonder whether I disappointed her at all…

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6 thoughts on “This is me

  1. Thank you for your great words and for sharing our childhood together. Please don’t be dissapointed with yourself. “The road ahead is empty, with miles of the unknown”. Do you want to come and walk it with me?
    Love you……

  2. The way you choose words is a real gift. I think you expressed not only yourself by these words, but most probably many of us. At least I can imagine myself sitting here today and melancholic thinking back to the child I was. Like most of the childeren full of hope and dreams. And yes, ofcourse it crosses my mind: ” What did I make out of my life, am I (read the little child) dissapointed with what life have given me sofar?” But you know, it is in people not to be satisfied and always thinking that we could do more, and more and more. Just continue writing your” imperfect writings” please, as I enjoy them so much. Thank you for that.

  3. This is beautiful. All things in life pass I guess, including the innocence of childhood – but I’m sure that girl would be proud to become someone who can write so beautifully and think so soulfully.

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