I have always wanted to write about local colour but Marcia has always stopped me from doing so. She feels embarrassed and even suggested I would take the piss. Nothing could be further from the truth. I know some weird things happen here and it is only by recording them that we can begin to understand the cultural gulf that exists between nations. Marcia reads my blog and I think she has now decided that I am not an arrogant white racist, merely a man penning his experiences so I was delighted when this evening she relented. I am now officially allowed to relate village gossip.
What I am about to tell you is the absolute God’s honest truth.
The next village is about
3 miles from here and sits in a commanding
position on the top of one of the two escarpments overlooking the mouth of the
Three or four months ago, a foreign company with business there decided to donate a big generator to the village. They employed one of the local youths, taught him how to change the oil and swap all the filters; fuel, oil and air, every 200 hours and provided him enough money each month to not only service the generator but to keep its tank full of diesel.
For three months, the community enjoyed uninterrupted power. Those who could afford to do so, went out and bought fridges; the more extravagant, satellite TV systems.
The village Co-ordinator and the elders did not like this. They were outraged that a foreign company would come in and employ a young lad who, because of his youth and poor family connections had no standing in the community and not only place him in charge of the electricity supply, entrust him with all that money.
So they decided they would have to kill him.
Naturally, they couldn’t march into his humble abode and slash him to death on his cot with machetes. Of course they could not drill him through the head with a round from an AK 47. Why? Simply because this poor boy’s death should be unattributable. In our enlightened society, murder is against the law.
But we live in a village and anyone who has lived in a village knows that two people can keep a secret only if one of them is dead. So the boy heard that these Elders were planning to kill him using Voodoo. They wanted to ‘Feiteçar’ him. They may all be Christians here and belong either to the Catholic or Universal Church but they really believe in the power of the occult and marvel at the lack of fear for my own soul I demonstrate every time I beat up a Seventh Day Adventist or Jehovah’s Witness who turning up on my doorstep clutching inane publications, does not immediately respond to a fervent, ‘Fuck Off!’
This boy, though, was taking no chances so he fucked off pretty sharpish and responsibility for the village’s power supply fell to the Elders.
A week later, for the first time in months, the generator stopped. Naturally, it was both night time and a weekend so nothing happened until Monday.
The company sent an engineer down who serviced and refuelled the generator and it started. Two minutes later it stopped again. The engineer tinkered around some more, started the generator and two minutes later it stopped again. This went on for an hour and eventually the engineer gave up. There was nothing wrong with the generator as far as he could ascertain. The poor bastard was stumped and did what any honest engineer would do under the circumstances. He packed his tools up and went home.
Naturally, half the village had turned out to watch the expert engineer at work. Seeing him fail and knowing everything in their new fridges had spoiled and they weren’t going to be watching the soaps for a third night one of them muttered, ‘Não podiam feiteçar o rapaz’. You should not have hexed the boy. This sentiment rippled through the assembled masses and then fed through the dark village. No blame attached to the engineer. He was just some poor white guy, what does he know about magic?
The word on the street is that having heard he was about to be hexed, the kid hexed the generator before pushing off. Now no-one is allowed to touch the generator and an all points bulletin has been issued begging the kid to come back and get the generator running again.
When he does come back, I want to be there for two reasons. One, to understand how he managed to skilfully disable a generator well enough to confound a professional engineer and two, to see the Elders eat shit when he starts it.