Sunday, January 17, 2010
In case of any illusions . . .
. . . this is, still, and desperately so, enemy territory. After about a month of a string of irritating minor infections, the bone-rattling teeth-clattering muscle-aching chills of a major fever hit last night, and I barely even opened my eyes until it was 2 pm and the rest of the family was home from church, having abandoned all responsibility to Scott (who is praying that he will somehow, miraculously, for the sake of the rest of us, be spared). I did open my eyes once though, in the early morning, when piercing shrieks and rising wails erupted next door, the highly effective all-come-running distress call of the bereaved. Scott rolled out of bed and went over to find out that a son of our late neighbor John Mukiddi had died overnight in Bundibugyo Hospital, and they had just brought the body, a young man whom we did not personally know, not sure of what causes. The inevitable tinny-amplified music of the all-night prep for burial gathering is just starting up now, at dusk, to blare outside our screened bedroom window And last night, our houseworker called in a somewhat disinhibited state, to report the success of his attempt to retrieve his wife. She had been understandably miffed when his brother attacked her with a machete a few days ago, saved by her teenage sun, in a brawl in which our friend suffered a big bruising shiner of an eye. Sickness, death of the young, alcoholism, violence, marriage strain . . sometimes the very holding together of this place seems so tenuous. Lord, have mercy.