Saturday 11 August 2012

1 Peter, 4:10

“You know Honey, when Micky he come everyone is happy.  When he go he leave big hole.”

OK, Marcia’s English may not be perfect but I think she banged the nail fairly squarely on the head.

All too soon after his arrival, and temporary detention, he was on his way again.  The sad part was Dominic having exams at school so he could only see his Uncle for 24 hours.  The irony is that Dominic, only days later, is now on holiday but happily for me this means I have the boy for a whole month and we have a lot of fish to catch.  He might even see us move into our new house the pace of construction suddenly speeding up with the arrival of electricians and plumbers.

The builders appeared at the half finished restaurant this morning which, this being the weekend, surprised me.  Normally they bugger off around Friday lunchtime and only reappear sometime Monday afternoon. 

‘Have you come here for more materials for the house?’ I asked them.

‘No, we have come here to go to Church.  Don’t you pray, Sr Thomas?’

‘Every day,’ I replied, ‘I pray that you’ll finish my fucking house!’

Obviously this upset their Holinesses but I didn’t care.  I was in the mood to both baptise them and give them their last rites in quick succession by drowning them in the river.

To be fair to them, however, it is not their fault.  The guy I paid to do this job is a fellow expat and, as Marcia never tires of reminding me, a good mate.  She’s not alluding to that warm fuzzy feeling of comradeship and loyalty, she’s saying I’m a dickhead.  Now I agree that it is rarely a good idea to get a mate in to build your house if you want to remain friends but I do believe, especially in an environment as unforgiving and ruthless as Angola, that mates should stick together.  All of us have had our ups and downs, the peaks and troughs of the generally stormy sea that is life.  Sadly, too many go under for lack of a lifeline.  So when my mate confessed he had serious cash flow problems, a refined way of saying he was bust, what could I do other than reach for the last lifebelt we had in our boat and toss it to him?  Christ knows I have needed a steady pair of hands to haul me out of the drink on a few occasions.

I am not a financial expert but console myself with the thought that the Ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic by experts.

I know it is hard not to, but I mustn’t look at all this in the light of lost revenue, which God knows hurts, but in the knowledge that if we all help each other to caulk our leaky boats, there will always be one serviceable enough to carry us all to safety.


  1. do you ever go and spend quality time with your bro out of africa?

  2. My guess is no, John, given the visa situation.

    And kudos to you, Tom for helping out a mate.


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