M I C H A E L   K A T A K I S

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Journal entry

27 August 1988

Kainkordu, West Africa

market_day_manjama_2What a remarkable day. Sahr and I are walking to Mangema past the large tree. It is already very hot. Sahr is a fine man and very good company and has one of those sparkling minds that take in the world. We talk about many things and I am surprised when he tells me about his great grandfather who fought the British with his ‘invisible cloak’.

“This is why the British could not find him,” Sahr tells me. “He would enter a room with the British in pursuit and then cover himself with the cloak and disappear”.

“Sahr that’s ridiculous. You know that’s impossible”, I say.

Sahr looks at me with determination and a bit of exasperation and retells his story with more flourish and even more remarkable hand gestures. We walked on and I do not recall how it came up but I told Sahr that the United States had landed men on the moon. With that Sahr begins to laugh so hard that he falls into the tall grass on the side of the road. Annoyed, I raise my voice over his laughter and say, “but it’s true, they did land on the moon”. Sahrs laughter grows so loud and infectious that soon we’re both laughing un-controllably. Women walking the rough road barefoot with large bundles balanced on their heads pause and stare at the sight of us laughing and start to laugh themselves.

There we were, both on the ground, certain the other crazy and each of us knowing what we had said was ‘true’. Never has an education in culture been more enjoyable.


Note: As of this writing I still have been unable to learn if Sahr has survived the civil war.

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