Greeting Wayfaring readers,
Truly it has been far too long since my last entry, for that I am sorry, but my excuse. Its farm’n season! This glorious appearing of the rains are wholesomely welcome, and after living in the sahel now through three different season I can say that by far this is my favorite time of the year. Niger is completely unrecognizable from its former self and the place that continuously intrigues me and challenges me, now has forever charmed its way into my heart.
Rainy season is my favorite part of the journey so far, the incredible transition of Niger’s’ landscape and culture is a place that I never would have believed to exist if you told me a month ago it would look as it does today. Contrasting the rolling seas of green fields, trees, and people hurryingly finishing their work one observes the most vibrant sky painted in vibrant hues of reds, purples, blues, and multiple shades in between to create the most masterful palate of color that this humble wanderer has never seen matched in his worldly travels or even seen attempted to be replicated from even the most gifted of artists.
Trekking through the bush for hours on an ox cart last week my village chief and I shared a remarkable experience of witnessing a storm rolling in behind us. As the winds blew, the crops waved, and the presence of a powerful storm flexed its strength all around us it reminded me on how much myself and the 12 million Nigeriens depend on the 400mm of annual precipitation. As we kept traveling on, laughing, talking, and experiencing the gifts that this wonderful planet provides us, my sweet corn crop was on the verge of devastation, and thirty trees in my house ready to be planted are desperately waiting for this rain, myself, a nursing child ready to receive the gift of life. In Niger the rain means everything.
The majority of my time has been spent working in my field, hanging out, playing mandolin and cursing every storm over the last two weeks that have literally blown over Dan Saga without a drop of rain or either broke north or south prior to our last downspout…everyone is getting rain, why don’t we? There are many theories about rain, each can be described by nice haughty words that describe the processes of nature, which I will not bore the reader with the convoluted jargon but I assure you it is all pointless. For I, Nazifi, volunteer of Dan Saga has demystified the processes of nature and now fully understand the theory as of why we are no longer receiving rain.
My theory, I did it, I asked for to much from Allah. Two weeks ago while working at the farmers field school my friend Ali was holding a calculator to his ear engaged in a very important heated conversation with his imaginary friend, so naturally I asked; “Hey is that Allah?” Ali said “Yes”, then I said “Then tell Allah Nazifi says WE WANT RAIN!”. As the token white, non muslim, wanderer I didn’t really stop to think how well this joke would play out to my twenty Muslim African farmers before saying it, but it did. So much so I think Allah even was amused by my boldness of such a demand because in the afternoon while playing my mandolin a few km out in the bush we received one hell of a sahelian toad choker (heavy rain in ozarkian slang). Oblivious with the surrounding world as I usually am while playing the mandolin (mishka) the skies opened and while trapped under a tree I was drenched and freezing from the 30 degree temperature drop in twenty minutes. 103-73, according to my watch.
Stranded and freezing under my favorite tree I could not help but warm myself to the thought that Wow when I speak, Allah listens! Never asked Allah for anything before but one for one, he’s not too bad of a deity. I can really warm up to this guy. Heck, and to think I was still holding out all these years for the miraculous delivery of that sweet bike I have been praying for since I was 10 from my Christian deity. Pshhh! Thanks God.
Then as my nature is, my mind began a wandering and I started thinking about what do we really know about the “christian god?”. Sure we have the testament to his legacy in the bible in everything, but what do we really know about this cosmic author? I know back in America Fox News and friends constantly barrage us with the whole idea that Allah is all meany pants and all, and demands absolute submission blah,blah,blah, but doesn’t the Christian one also. If Allah is so bad then why did he tell us his name, nay in fact all 99 of them? All I know about how to my address diety is to call him God. Seems kind of impersonal doesn’t it?
Maybe the only thing I know about him was that he had a really cool son but look what we did to him. Well you know the story. Jesus is a cool name but is still being ostracized by us, his own followers in the bible. Want proof? My proof, Jesus is gaffed out like a kid with a huge embarrassing physical attribute he doesn’t get to be in the stoic black ink, no, he is there plain as day to be pointed out and gaffed at in his silly red ink. Seriously I like him, when are we going to lay off Jesus?
Does god not want to let us down? Really I would still love him if his name is something really bad like Clarence, or his dad named him something like Sue to toughen him up. Who knows? Why don’t we know his name? Was our originator picked on at the deity playground or something by the other gods? So when he took over and had a universe of his own he decided to just go by the name GOD. I bet Lord Gannesh was a real bully on the playground with his eight arms and all. I usually root for the underdog but seriously how could you pick Clarence over Gannesh for the all time great games such as red rover, dodge ball, tether ball, wow eight arms. He would be unbeatable.
Regularly I listen to the radio shows here and the only ones in English tend to be the Christian hellfire and brimstone ministries from the US. It seems like the Christians are trying to win over believers in an all out our god can beat up your god playground fight for devotion. Seriously, both religions talk extensively about peace and heck many of the characters based in the bible are key characters in the Koran to. Dog Gammit most the people here have similar names to us folk being named such as the likes of Ibrihim (Abraham) Issa (jesus) Mariama (Mary), you get my point.
Well this is my confessional via blogosphere to Allah and god (Clarence or whatever) that I didn’t ask out of arrogance and though I do appreciate that really magnificent toad choker, I haven’t had the gall to demand any more. I don’t ever want to seem pushy but really if you could spare some my sweet corn could use it, and my trees need to be planted. And I am not dwelling on it, but is it possible for that bike, remember I liked the hot pink one. Thanks.