A Crazy World

The day greeted me with a mild headache (from lack of sleep), a persistent knocking on my door, and an impatient Dinka voice.
“Madam, somebody is here to see you. Said it’s important.”
What the—! I was still in my nighties. It’s only 9:30. And it’s a Saturday, for God’s sake! Of course, I didn’t say that out loud. I dragged myself out of bed, put on jeans and my oversized HI shirt over my nighties, and hid my disheveled hair under a hat—which somehow made me look like a scare crow. Which was fine because that was the intention—to scare this uninvited guest away.
He was there waiting for me at the gate with a very big, somewhat “political” or “clownish” (there’s no difference, anyway) grin plastered on his cheeky face. He looked really neat, well-dressed, educated. Which made me look and feel like a slob.
“Good morning, madam. I came here to see you.” As if I didn’t know and as if he didn’t wake me from my “beauty” sleep. Before I could say something, he extended his hand—firm handshake—and offered me a plastic chair near the guard’s house. As if I was the guest in the compound where I live. I didn’t want to sit because I didn’t want to engage in a conversation. But he pushed the chair against the back of my knees, which automatically sent my behind landing on the seat next to him.
“So madam, I need a job. Could you offer me one?”
“I’m sorry. We have no vacancies right now. If we have, we will post it around town, so you will know. Thank you for coming. Have a good weekend.” 

Irritated, I stood up, but he held me down with my arm. I was shocked! No one in South Sudan has ever done that to me before. Dinka men are usually very modest. The most “intimate” gesture they can give you is a handshake and a few taps on the shoulder.

I looked at the guard, hoping he would realize that the only damsel in the camp was in distress. But he just kept on fiddling with his cellphone. He probably didn’t know what was going on, considering the only English he knows is, “How was sleep? Good?”—a memorized line, which he had adopted as a form of greeting, even in the afternoon and evening and night.
“So what about your job? Can I have it?” the “intruder” said with a Joker smile that sent me bolting from my chair to the guardhouse. Then he started to fidget inside his laptop bag (which was missing a laptop) as if looking for something. I was thinking he was going for a gun or a knife. But he took out a pen and asked me to write my name on the paper because he will report me to the Ministry of Labour. I pleaded the guard to escort the crazy fellow out of the gate, which, surprisingly, he understood. I don’t know what happened after because I just went running to my hut and hid my head under my pillow for some comfort. I’m such a sissy!

I must be a crazy-person magnet. In the Philippines, while I was walking downtown, a woman in tattered clothes came up to me and slapped me, just like that. Stunned and not quite knowing what was going on, I stood like a tree in front of her and allowed her to slap me one more time, until a kind stranger pushed her away.
I also remember one incident in Ethiopia. I was inside an internet café when a burly guy was harassing passersby just opposite the café where I was. Suddenly, he looked straight into the café and barged in, which sent people scrambling to go outside. And me, well, I was again too stunned to do anything so while everyone was outside, I stood in one corner, trembling and helpless. I closed my eyes, hoping he wouldn’t see me . . . because I was not seeing him. Haha! At the last minute, I ducked under the computer desk and hid behind the CPU and the wires. I would rather die of electrocution than be pulped to death by Incredible Hulk. He went straight toward the desk, while I was reciting a litany of prayers to all saints I know. Oddly, he didn’t even check under the desk. Instead, he went to chase the spectators outside, who were probably waiting to see what manner my life will end. But miraculously, I survived!
Outside the cafe.

Not long after that, while I was walking from the market to my house, an old man with a stick suddenly ran after me, and since he was too slow and realizing he couldn’t outrun me, he threw a piece of stone at me, which I successfully dodged. And he kept on chasing me and throwing stones. But the strangest thing was, despite seeing the look of terror on my face, people on the streets were just looking, some even laughing—laughing at the poor ferengi (foreigner). And for the first time since I came to Ethiopia, I felt like running, running away from the crazy life that I had gotten myself into. 

Scene of the crime.

Must be wondering why the poor “ferengi” is running.

4 Comment

  1. I think you are incredibly brave that you keep doing what you are doing despite all. Did I just read that you are the only woman working in the camp?! I really admire you and wish you the best. (If I can do it I'll try and get you on Stumbleupon)


  2. admin says: Reply

    Thanks,P. Yes, I'm the only woman in the camp, and trying my best to be brave. 🙂 I appreciate your reading about my experiences.

    About Stumbleupon, I've heard so much about it, but don't really know what it is. 😀

  3. Hi,

    I could not help but feel sorry and the same time amused by the way your relate everything…you are brave and funny…you are definitely good at story telling because you were able to see through the images of your experiences which seemed like I was there…I felt like the guard, i felt like Incredible Hulk, I felt like those ordinary people looking at you running away from the crazy man…
    Nevertheless, I am so impressed and your experiences will surely make you a more confident and smarter person..Bilib talaga ako sa mga Pinay…

  4. admin says: Reply

    Hi Earl (hope I got the name right),

    Thanks for visiting my blog. And I'm glad you enjoyed this post. It's a crazy world out here, but I am savouring every moment. I'm indeed a different person since I came here. I can now laugh at my misfortunes. 😀

    Proud to be Pinay!

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