Saturday, December 24, 2005

Hoe Hoe Hoe!

December 20, 2005. Tuesday, 9:06pm.

Mistaken Identity Story, Continued

I�ve started running in the mornings again, trying to get ready to climb Mt.
Kenya next week. Every morning I pass Alfred, my neighbor who thinks I come
from a place in the U.S. that�s next to Argentina. Today he had a friend
with him.

�Where are you going?� the friend asked me, after we had all shaken hands
and exchanged five greetings each.

�Back to my house,� I said, knowing what he would say next.

�Oh, you mean over there,� he said, pointing to the camp for the Chinese
road crew.

�Why would I live there?� I said, annoyed. �I�m American.�

�But you look like a Chinese,� he said.

�No, I don�t,� I said, without hitting him. �I look like an American.�

�Don�t you see,� Alfred scolded him, proud to show off that he knows
something about me. �She�s American.�


I started tilling my shamba, and by tomorrow the entire two points (44 x 22
yds) should be done. Guess what? I know how to use a hoe now!

�You mean you have never hoed a garden before?� Hillary asked, incredulous.

�Where do you think I come from?� I said. �In America my garden was called

�Let me dig it for you,� he said. �You can sit under that tree and rest.�

�Aw, how sweet, just like colonial times,� I said. �A mzungu comes to Africa
and makes a black man do all her work.�

�Mm,� he said vaguely. But he didn�t try to stop me when I began to hoe.

The next step: collecting cow poop to fertilize the soil. I am picturing
long days of trudging back and forth from the forest (where the cows graze)
across the football field to my shamba with a shovel and a wheelbarrow.


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