Berit, how much humanity is there left in you? (with a numb, distressed voice)
Eughuhh… (barely audible groan resounded with Malindi in the background)
Sacrifice for a human experiment
We were the test group of a human experiment last night. The experiment was to see the human tolerance to physical pain. We were thrown around like Jews in the Second World War.
First, we were forced into a metal box which was constantly shaked back and forth. It was cold, dirty, dusty, there were holes in the floor and the windows were broken. The noise was intolerable.
The people who sold us this “adventure” in the Monster, claimed it was a bus.
The square seats’ mats were snagged. The windows lapsed constantly open so cold wild would blow in. Lots of packages were in the room around us that fell to the ground every now and then. The roof was full of different things no use for us.
I held a tiny chick in my hands, only two days old, who had never hurt a soul in this world but still had to bear 10 hours of the gauntlet of sufferings with us.
Culprits: Monster, the coolies who had sold us the bus tickets, and the roads of Kenya (= a bump after the other).
At first, it seemed funny. Then annoying, then unpleasant, then appalling and in the end, we were in physical pain! Only wish in our jolted minds were this thing to stop. Nothing else mattered. No! This pain has to stop! We would have asked to leave the bus, only if we weren’t in the middle of a remote desert, among hungry lions…
The chick felt sick in a couple of hours. The poor thing was so cold, the only place she would survive the trip to Tanzania was under my arm or bosom. The chick pooped in my hand every 10 minutes. I shaked the poop off and put the little one back where she was, until another dropping.
A coolie who didn’t seem to give a damn, sat next to us at some point, chewing his Khat and glancing at our bags. The pain and poop were joined by fear.
A moment came, when I didn’t feel human anymore. I became a robot who couldn’t really comprehend what’s happening, what matters in life, who I am and what is my purpose here. I was Winston Smith in 1984 by Orwell, trashed numb. I love you.
I looked out the window – the bushes of the savannah, gray in the moonlight, turned into corals and algae, reaching out towards me vigorously. The mountains projected a black silhouette to the background.
There was only one point where I felt elation in this saga of sufferings – when I saw Big Dipper, hanging above the mountains. Upside down.
To make the situation even more absurd, we were asked for additional payment for the tickets. As it turned out, Monster would take us not farther than the border. What!? We were tortured in this Monster the whole night like Jews in a gas chamber. I wanted to punch those Mombasa coolies, the bus driver and all the other coolies out there. I kicked Monster out of anger! And hit my toe…
When we reached the checkpoint in the morning, we put our foot down. Even if it’s the end of the world, we’re not getting on that Monster anymore. It worked – a coolie fetched us a matatu.
With a stripe.
A police officer in a clean light blue uniform.
A doll world, like the 1950′s America.
And, illuminated by the holy light of sunrise through a morning fog, we saw the snowy peak of Africa – giant Kilimanjaro. A divine revelation.
The chick was shocked, shivering and squeaking like a cellphone alarm. It took half a day to get her back to life.
We couldn’t figure out what happened next. A white man in a jeep appeared from somewhere. We were taken to a house where four people were sitting behind their computers in a circle. We couldn’t understand anything. „This is your room” was where we collapsed.