Katesh: Live Chickens on a Bus and People Mattering
Katesh: Live Chickens on a Bus and People Mattering.
I met with Paulo this morning, shook hands and said goodbye to all of his friends. Then as Paulo and I were walking to the bus station, he stopped to say hello to some of his friends and they were asking him if they could try some of my Czech sniffing-tobacco. Apparently word got around fast about what I had shared last night. I was clearly a hit!
Paulo and I caught the bus to Katesh (Qatesh) with is four hours from Mbulu. Paulo said that there will be a big market there tomorrow with people selling livestock and there will be ‘Barbaig’ tribe people bringing goods to sell as well. I had better see all I can see while I have a local guide who is not trying to charge me extortionate fees to show me this world. He was heading to Katesh whether I was coming along or not, but I decided to pay for his bus fares anyhow.
A man got on the bus were on bound for Katesh with a live chicken in his hand and sat in a seat across from me. The chicken was silent. Then later during the trip we picked up two women who had chickens in boxes with breathe holes cut in the cardboard where the chickens were sticking their heads out to see the world. Chickens are everywhere in this country. When I would walk through Mbulu, past an area where people selling chickens sit on the side of the street. Nearly every time I walked past, someone would ask me if I wanted to buy a chicken. I am a foreigner. What am I going to do with an entire chicken?
The bus pulled into Bashay, where we had been two days ago to go to the Hadza village, and there was Mathayo my motorcycle driver. He saw me, had a huge smile and rushed to the window saying, “Beava, my friend Beava!” I gave him a sticker.
We eventually got to Katesh, and a early 30’s rough looking drunk with no teeth was following Paulo and I as we headed to Paulo’s friend’s guesthouse owned by a man named Hhondo (yep, two h’s to start that name. Crazy). The drunk would not leave us alone. He was annoying and trying to talk friendly English to me. Paulo was asking him to leave us. The drunk would not. He was telling Paulo in Swahili, between trying to be nice to me, “I will not leave. You stay out of this old man. I want money from the white man. I will not leave until I get money.” Paulo said he asked the drunk why he thought he should get money. The drunk said, “Stay out of my way. You are ruining my business.” Paulo told me that he threatened to beat up the drunk, but the drunk kept at us until we reached the guesthouse. I checked in and he hounded me from the front door of the property for another 10 minutes. That is the hard part about Africa. That kind of shit is what will likely make me decide to leave at some point. There are two types of people here. There are the few like the one I have just mentioned, and there is the majority with big genuine smiles and are so friendly and wonderful. However, it is the pieces of garbage that end up standing out in the mind more, and that is a shame. There are really not many people in between…
The guesthouse in Katesh was $5 for a room each. I moved in and Paulo was going to a cheaper place to stay where he could get a room for $2.50. I told him to just spend the $2.50 here for a room and I would pay for the rest. He is a good man. I paid for lunch as well. It is nice to be around a genuine human being here…
Anyhow, I was talking about it earlier today how the most special thing about Africa is that people have time for each other, something I had not realized we are now lacking in our own society until I noticed the difference here. People make time for each other. It is like life was in the western world 20 years ago when people actually spent time with each other. ‘Socializing’ here is so unlike where we are today in western culture where people send text excuses about why they are too busy, or worse, sit around together staring at their phones after meeting up. I have been talking to the locals and I tell them that we have a higher standard of living, but we have a much lower mental connection and our sense of community is really disappearing which something I have been making clear to them is a very beautiful thing they have here. It is pretty wonderful to be with them to sit in a circle on logs under a tree and talk about what the day was with the people that matter in their lives…