22 August 2007

In Which Sarge Parts Briefly With Cody To Descend Alone Into The Jungle...


Iringa was a disaster, but I learned things. Of Euphrase, he told me terrible things. Of tortures and privations which made me weep openly, the town square behind us dusty with morning and no doubt many eyes watching us, waiting. He gestured with his cup of konyagi to the north and said, "in this direction I have heard of odd occurrences which remind me of The Untouched [Medicine Man], there are those who have wandered from the jungle beset with maladies and wounds grievous to behold. They say one man had the muscles of his upper body removed. He said, they say, he was only shocked at that point, that muscles ripped from the body are blue, not red and smeared with blood. He died soon after, though some have lived. What they have left though, can hardly be called life. The Untouched, some believe, is not human. I think he is all too human. All too much so!" He slammed his konyagi on the glass table and dared me to contradict him, but remembering Sydney, I could not. Around us the yellowed walls collected silence and I felt I must pursue Medicine Man to the Kagera region and perhaps from there find some sense.

I went to Bukoba after a stop in Mwanza, the ferry to Bukoba across part of Lake Victoria would have been pleasant, but I was heavy of heart. Cody was in Mwanza.

I had left him with a friend of an old friend, one you may know. I had called Nwargo and he had called his friend Lwiza, strikingly beautiful, she took an immediate liking to Cody and told me he would enjoy the shores of Victoria as if they were those shores further south I had just told her I was sure he missed.

"Tell Nwargo he is missed," she said. "Tell him he is missed," she paused, staring through my eyes as though she were suddenly somewhere else, "every day."

There is a story there, my friend, but I did not have time to tease it from her. The ferry left soon and there I was, my friend running down the dock to see me off, jumping into the water after me and Lwiza laughing, wading in after him to collect him. Her clothes clung to her curves as she waved me off, the dog letting off a good few barks so that those around him laughed and pointed. I decided it might be a good idea to disappear then, from the shore's sight, and left to the forward deck with a lump in my throat. There I watched the afternoon deepen into the lateness of day.

I am alone now though I have a guide. Abdul is quick and easy to get along with. He told me The Untouched is like a ghost, flitting between the hills just west of Bukoba and the jungles of eastern Rwanda.

So it is Rwanda again, I fear. Though I seem to have known it, it is like I am being guided, teased into the place I fear most to tread on this journey.

I must go now. But I will write soon.

be in touch Cpl., you are missed and the light snoring of my new friend Abdul is no company!

Tell Ranger to write as well.


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