Magical catfish

Every day I am visited by Moses. He’s excited to be graduating this year and going into first grade. He does well in math but I still see a great deal of improvement needed in his reading/writing skills. His personal life is becoming increasingly strained now that his grandmother has died. A couple of years ago there were as many as nine members in this household, including a young girl named Musu who came “from the bush” to help Old Ma. Without the grandmother, most have gone other places leaving Moses, a cousin Emmanuel (whom he calls a brother and appears to be about 18), and his grandfather Sibley who is adrift since losing his wife. Moses told me today Sibley will be moving to Monrovia to live with his daughter (Moses’s Auntie). As Moses says, “The household is now two boys.” I’m not sure how sustainable this situation is since Emmanuel is a newcomer (from what I’ve seen) so I question his emotional attachment and level of commitment to Moses. What’s Moses’s future look like???

I’ve been channeling Kathy’s RN skills over the last two days. One of our key experienced builders, they call him Old Man, got a pretty deep cut on his wrist from the edge of the zinc while passing a piece up to the roofing crew. Those edges are really sharp but, despite having work gloves available, the guys like to use their bare hands. I bandaged it yesterday but today the skin flap looked bigger. I found some steri-strips and attempted to close the wound (yes, Kathy…the first step was washing!), then wrapped it with some semi-sticky gauze-like tape (I know those are very technical descriptions) and told him to keep it dry. It’s in a bad spot with all his wrist flexing and hammering motions. Kathy would be proud…I didn’t pass out from the blood and flesh!

With my medical duties completed, I primarily worked on getting the solar set up installed in the poultry house. I ran wires through the roof, to a switch, over to the charge controller, to a battery shelf, and up to a DC light. I made some small mounting brackets from 2″ steel angle and painted them. I expect they’ll be dry for installation tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the men finished zincing the roof and were putting up the fencing material and chicken wire around the perimeter.

Sam has jumped into action to help satisfy Mr. Jon by finding sources for wood. By noon, he and Lavela with a few other men (and Sam’s girlfriend) were off to make a purchase. Like a parent loaning the car keys to their child for the first time, I was getting concerned when 7:30pm arrived and they weren’t back yet – what’s his curfew anyway?! Just when I was about to call to see if baby Foton had broken down somewhere, I heard the truck beeping as it came over the crest of the access road.

Sam agreed to stay in Deanville until the wood needed to get this job done was purchased. Because he arrived as a spur of the moment favor, he had no plans for where to stay. I told him to stay at the Guesthouse. Of course his girlfriend shares the room. It’s not my usual evening having a towel-clad young Liberian woman walking past to take a shower.

Sam got talking and somehow we got on the witch thing again. He had other stories: like the man who would ride crocodiles. He could walk under water than come out – with his skin all dry – carrying food for you to eat. Then the pond of huge catfish with magical powers…if you kill one of them it kills a human in Monrovia. The reason they’re so huge is that no one takes a chance catching them, this they keep growing. Plus you can’t take photos of them because the image won’t come out. As Sam says, “Strange things can happen in Africa!”

3 thoughts on “Magical catfish

  1. Boy , yare you going to be bored when you get back to Chelmsford . I don’t have such interesting stories like Sam. I am proud that you are the local medic. I am proud that you take on nursing duties and remember all the key first aid tasks. You have really expanded your skill set!. You’ve come a long way from being green like a lollipop!

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  2. This is fascinating.
    Interesting that the closest I can think of anything like this is New Orleans where the African culture brings ‘da voodoo. Sharon

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  3. So sad to hear about Moses. He clearly needs some attention and support. I can’t even imagine being 14 years old and just cast adrift like that. Hopefully he will stay in school! Becky

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