I’m going to leave out many names and specifics to protect the favors that have been done for us, but I will reiterate that officials in this country need something else to keep them occupied in really the worst way!
This week, a note came from officials in Kisangani, 500km to the south of us, questioning whether or not “the whites had buried a chimpanzee.”
Because, of course, this is against the law, as I mentioned before.
I’m of the firm belief that where we inter our poor dead orphan is really only our business -- not only for our sanctity of mind and closure but for the health of locals too -- since we’re still not really sure what killed Akuma Cleveland (if it was indeed a disease), would they prefer us to leave him in the road so he can communicate it to passers-by?
Anyway... a friend of ours came to let us know of this note and to let us know that he had already sent a reply swearing that we had thrown Akuma’s body into the river by the house, and had not buried him.
We of course didn’t ask him to do this, but if it ends this whole messy situation, we’ll be pleased.
The other end of this horribleness too is that, after showing us the message he’d sent on to Kisangani, our friend went into a long discussion about how he was so glad that we were “such close friends” and how, considering what VERY close friends we were, that he knew we’d “never show him a closed hand.”
It’s a lovely lesson on the modes of government here -- and in case we’d forgotten, he came to us this morning and let us know that his motorcycle’s gas tank was empty.
There are so many reasons to become cynical and angry and bitter (and crazy) here -- we try every day to find things that are funny and make us smile.
So instead of thinking of him extorting us on behalf of his prior good will, I will think of him pulling a hopelessly wrinkled, filthy hanky out of his pocket, shaking it out and laying it out on the step of our back patio before sitting on it to chat with us.
A dirty step! Oh noes! The horror!