Brett Conrad February 20 2007
My friend Brett Conrad died yesterday, ironically I called his home the day after his death. Brett was instrumental in the founding of the web site HoboTraveler.com. He was a friend who donated his time to help create the first databases and PHP work on the site.
He died of cancer, I am not sure how to explain, yet I know he helped to me on the path to my Hobo freedom. He was like a younger brother to me, full of questions, ideas and hopes.
He wrote me to explain he was dying, we exchanged a few words between friends.
No worries for Brett, he was a good man.
He is my friend.
Brett Conrad February 20 2007
Time to Leave Kpalime
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Thursday, April 5, 2007
It is time to leave Kpalime, Togo West Africa, I hear the road a callin.
Friends are habitual, or habit forming, they make life comfortable and routine, the may even make life boring in some ways, but I do not feel or believe friends are boring. I see them a small treasures, however difficult to keep close as they learn to ignore me or others.
I tell my new friends in cities, I enter,
- I am a traveler, I am leaving. -
In West Africa the idea of travel or tourism is difficult for a person to conceptualize and understand for the locals. The assumption is, I am a white ma working on a project here in West Africa or Togo and I live here in Kpalime now. This is why white people come to Togo to work on projects. A project is something like AIDS - SIDA or orphans, or sanitation or the plethora of save the planet ideas done by the business of save the planet people.
These people do not talk tourism, they talk projects, however they are tourist for the most part and travel short distance with a base. The base or returning to the location confuses the West Africa people and they do see the project workers as living here, and they do, when they are not being tourist.
The idea of drifting from city to city to look at Togo is difficult for them to understand. I am not sure and I continually ask for them to explain a tourist to me. They assume I am returning to the city.
I think the problem also this, there is this ingrained belief, that there is no reason to be in Togo, that the best idea is to leave. More or less they think,
- Why do you want to see Togo. -
This is a statement, not as a question, this is not a question, it is a statement, there is more or less in their mind no reason to see Togo. However, a lot of this is financial or lack of extra money, Tourist use luxury money to travel I am guessing the that more free or unused money would first be first used to buy a cell phone or a motorcycle, that would give them higher social status. Or for he men, they may buy Cadeau or Gifts for women in an effort to keep the women and gain favor and extra favors.
To court a women here towards the idea of marriage, a person must prove he can support the women. The highest or best person to support the woman often wins. This is why foreigners can easily give the impression they can do this, the men are not jealous or do not fight for this idea, they more or less appear to accept they can only afford this women, and if a person has more, they get the women. Funny way of seeing things.
Well, I will miss my friend Michael and all the small and big friends around the Mandela Hotel, as they have become part of my daily routine. I can get water fast by calling on the children to run for cold water, I can buy hot bread in the morning on the days Ester makes bread, she calls me over. Andre, the bread is hot.. (In French, you think my English spelling is bad, you do not want to see French.)
The Pygmalion song, this I have become accustom to your way, it’s a shame and sad, I cannot find the words to this song, I was hoping to have a few seconds of a fond memory.
I think, and I did find the book or free e-book on My Fair Lady or Pygmalion, I have been downloading many e-books as my fear of loneliness or lack of entertainment looms. There is always two extra hours in the day for a traveler.
The Gutenberg site has a lot of books to read for free and download, I can put on my computer, however mostly older and the words and way of using words is trying.
Well, in the movie, I think a man by the name of Higgins, sings this song about being in love with the way the girl is, he is instructing he, and she does things that annoy him, yet endears her to him. More or less he has grown accustomed to her way, to her movements, to the idiosyncrasies that make us love one another, a fine line between love and annoyances.
I have become accustom to the ways of Kpalime and now I am leaving, as this is what I do, I leave, I do not stay. It is confusing for my new friends and for the children as there is feeling of eternal never ending sharing of smiles and laughter, which is not reality.
I discussed the shining on of the white people in Africa that happens, there is this coming to Africa, big promise, stories of relieving Africa from some not-so-real suffering, however if you are told you suffer and are hungry, you somehow begin to believe.
The White people come and promise some paradise on earth, and one day leave, there is this vacuum as if a lie happened. I thought you was bringing Jesus here, what no Jesus.
My friend Michael enjoys my blunt nature, I just say, no and yes, and do not sit around making people happy promise-them-lies or shining them on. A girl was trying to work me over, and to gain favor with me by being too friendly and too this, and that, she in my opinion, just wanted money, she calls it a Cadeau and I call it the oldest business on the planet.
I just escorted her to the street and said good bye in French, Michael was very bewildered and looked at me, laughing. He says in his Ghana English, you see through her, she is not good, so you just say bye, no talking. I do not clutter my life with the takers and the teller of stupid stories I do not believe.
There is a listening thing that happens in West Africa, the people have become accustom to listening to the musical stories told by their leaders, friends, white people, of this and that, and even though when they know all is a lie, they try to believe.
Like listening to your son or daughter give a good reason why the did not go to school. Sometimes we want to believe when we know it is not true. Africa is trying to believe, they are the true believers.
Waiting for Godot, and it is not the French, although the play, - Waiting for Godot - does seem French in culture.
Time to Leave Kpalime