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See the green grass on the other side?
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Thanks for all your feed-back. I hope to start a new Ed Bristol story sometimes this year.
Voodoo Killed My Mother
My mother is dead. The doctors say she died of meningitis, but I know that is not the whole truth. My mother was killed by a voodoo spell.
Our family comes from a rainy northern city. My mum always hated the cold and spent her entire life trying to get away from it. She did get away; she made it to the jungles and beaches of Asia and Africa, but life always forced her back into cold cities.
The last time in Africa, she met a young man, an ex-police officer for whom she fell head over heels. He had nothing – no job, no home, nothing but debt and a big family. My mother paid his bills. He was still married, but she refused to believe it. We do not know how he lost his job in law enforcement, but you don’t get fired from Africa’s police because you are too clean. When her cash cards were emptied at the ATM, she said it was a banking miracle, not him stealing.
Together they built a house near the beach and opened a restaurant. She wouldn’t listen to anybody, cutting off those who questioned the young man. In the end, she gave up her family, her children, and everything else that mattered to her, except for her dogs, because they were loyal and uncritical, no matter what the young man did to her. She never saw her grandchild, not even a photo, because the young man warned her that a voodoo curse might be attached to the photo.
It was not her will, she said, but the voodoo spell that bound her. She wanted to escape but she couldn’t. Every time she tried to leave him, she got terribly sick. She tried counter-spells too, but they didn’t work; probably her sorceress was no good, she said. In Africa, musungus never get the real deal.
The restaurant was robbed many times, miraculously whenever they held some cash. Traumatized by violent crimes, my mother sold the house near the beach and followed the young man to the up-countries, where his wife and children lived.
He convinced her that building an apartment house would be a solid investment. Her remaining funds went into twelve flats in Nairobi. She kept the address of the apartment house secret so we could not find her or her young man.
Nairobi (or “Nai-Robbery” to the insider) is almost as cold and rainy as the city where she was born. It was there that her life’s cycle closed. When she had no more money to invest, she was chased away by the young man’s wife and soon succumbed to illness.
“I know you don’t believe me, but there are things in Africa that one cannot explain. Things beyond our understanding.” It was one of the last things she said to me.
The young man had her buried behind the graveyard’s toilet, next to the garbage, but only after we sent money for the funeral. He had no cash, he said even though my mother’s will left all to him, the apartment house and the car. He did not bother to put a stone or a flower on her grave. My mother’s beloved dogs went to an animal shelter; we will never get her personal belongings, as her will stipulates, because the young man is afraid that we will put a spell on him.
Remarkably, my mother never went to church. The church just wanted her money, she said. However, against all indications, my mother was not stupid. In fact, she was very successful in everything she did except in regards to men.
She was a nihilist and a misanthrope, yet it was love that killed her.
Love in the form of a voodoo spell.
Many soft-shelled Westerners are shocked when first confronted with the seemingly unlimited suffering on the city streets of Asia or Africa. Men without limbs lie on streets holding plastic cups with their lips, pregnant women wail for alms, little children with sad eyes roll in the mud and blind mongoloids play heartbreakingly bad on some ancient instrument. Yes, it is terrible… but look twice before you donate.
I remember a little girl with her two puppies: She slept on the busiest piece of sidewalk in town, right next to the stench and dirt of a roaring six lane road. People might have stepped on her or the dogs at any time. If you love kids and puppies, like most humans, seeing them helpless and without shelter in the filth seems too much to bear.
But, when passing that area more often, you will realize that she sleeps there only on Tuesdays and that the puppies change every month or so. Also, the dogs are strangely calm, not like normal puppies at all.
One Tuesday you will see the girl sneaking out of a taxi a couple of hundred meters up the road. In the car sits an elderly woman with three or four other girls and a lifeless heap of puppies.
They are professionals. The girls and the dogs are being used by a hard-shelled mother (if one may call this a mother). The puppies are probably drugged and die regularly, the girls never get to see a school and learn to sleep in the dirt as a profession.
The worst thing, in a twisted way, is to give them money for their performance.
Better leave a tip with that taxi driver. At least he works for a living.
Then, on the other hand, try not to harden too much and keep an eye out for people truly needing help. They are often the ones who don’t ask.
As far as I know Africa, we will have a hard time protecting them. We, the West, can’t even protect humans in the Congo, how are we going to stop those extra 120,000 from becoming bush meat? All Congo will go: “What the heck? We do have so many, they can hardly count them. Let’s fire up the BBQ.”
As any modern environmentalist can tell you, the only way of rescuing those gorillas is to exploit them. Let InterConti or Marriot build a hotel in the Rainforest for people to see the “The Gorilla City”. Of course they need to be strictly non-invasive and under UN protection. Profitable high-end tourism is the hype. Fly in and out with noise reduced helis only. People are paying millions to see the earth through a spacecraft window.
Less romantic but even more effective: Let us buy them. We pay the Congo $200 for each gorilla kept alive. I take 5 apes straight away. Who is with me? I am sure for $24m you can get a lot in Congo. The WWF is doing the controlling.
That would be good news.