On the road to Makete

By Noel Ihebuzor

 

At the exit of Mikumi park, a green country side

peopled by boabob trees

huge baobab trees, their naked branches raised in surrender

to the heavens, to a harsh sky begging for rain

standing majestic and proud rushed past

meeting and waving us on as we left them

standing where they have always stood

greeting the wayfaring

and we rolled on, rubber and tarmac

meeting and their interaction pushing us forward  and on

past chimpanzees who surveyed us

with amused indifference and who then grudgingly got off the road

to let us progress, and we soon came to a brown river,

which decided to followed our convoy,

rustling and foaming as it rolled towards the waiting confluence

always running ahead till we outran it

outrunning and overtaking slow moving trucks

long and sluggish like overfed millipedes

driving between hills with grey patches on their tops

their cut portions looking like angry reddish dandruff

on the lush green slopes, still standing proud

the face of the hill, gashed and chewed up

by hungry earth eating equipment

The giant teeth of technology biting and transforming,

reaping, ripping and raping

 

And into the pass and into the mountains

their crests crowned by the floating clouds

the clouds around and above us

floating and drifting like smoke filled amoeba

shapeless balloons hanging on invisible threads

balance of particles and matter held by forces far above us   

between earth and the open skies, heaven smiling

the soft palms of the cloud gently brushing our car window

 

And looking out of the car window

to below to behold the giant snake on which

we rode, this road that wove around and clung on the torso

of the mountain like a lover in the throes of passion

 

 And then the slow descent

dotted huts, dotted communities

scattered among hills

children dotting bellies on tiny limbs,

in their cracked shoes

walking long brown distances on red mud roads

that cracked and spat dust and pebble

to schools with cracking walls

and cracked floors  

 

The convoy drove into a school

a chorus of Karibus and Shikamo

rent the  air, as teachers, parents and pupils

came forward to greet us

and as I shook their hands

images of the hills that jogged to meet and greet us

of the winds that laughed and sang for us

and the tall trees that swayed and waved  as we passed

receded,  replaced by the reality of these young hopeful faces

 hungry for education, hungry for life and full of hope for the future

 

 

***I jotted these lines down on my first field visit last month to a district we will working in in our current country programme!  I am not sure it qualifies as a poem – more like prose and random jottings sitting in a four wheel drive as we did the ten hour trip through a very pleasant country side tot the district! 

 

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2 Responses to “On the road to Makete”


  1. 1 Susan L Daniels July 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Noel–you have captured the countryside so well here, so vivid–I am calling it a poem for its musicality, this vivid nature, and because I have fallen totally in love with the penultimate stanza, which is BRILLIANT!

  2. 2 Noel Ihebuzor July 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks, Susan. As always, your comments encourage!


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