Remembering Africa

Marianne’s home in Odense was the scene of nostalgic chatter and banter from a group of ten friends. Five of them had participated in a Kenya work camp only two months earlier: Marianne, Karsten, Helga, Ingrid and Annika. The other five were listening open-mouthed as intriguing tales from Africa flowed forth.

“The Kenyan volunteers in the work camp were simply fabulous!” Helga was speaking, “There was one of them known as Kim. He was tall, handsome and crazy! You should have seen his somersaults and dance moves. He was so…”

“It looks like you had a crush on him,” Jasper her friend interrupted.

“No way! The people who crushed into romance know themselves,” she looked at Marianne and Annika and winked.

“Aaaaaah! Tell us all the details,” Mette, a pretty, green-eyed blonde insisted.

“Edu!” the four Kenya alumni Danes shouted as they looked at Marianne. She blushed, rushed to her bedroom and came back with a large photo album.

“After you see pictures of Edu, you will all understand why we crushed into each other!”

‘Ooohs’ and ‘aaaahs’ came from the girls as they devoured Edu’s good looks and wide smiles.

“Wow!” the green-eyed blonde exclaimed, “and who is this heavenly brother!”

It was Juvi. “His name is just as handsome!”

“And his humor is just as great,” Annika said. She remembered the day that she tried to teach Juvi salsa. Even his dancing was funny.

Karsten loudly remembered the day he lost a taunt bout to Juvi. They all reminisced loudly about their Kenyan experiences, throwing in an exaggeration once in a while. Annika claimed that she had actually touched the mane of a lion. Karsten sweared that he had flirted with the reigning Miss. Kenya.

“Her glossy, chocolate brown complexion left me speechless for two days,” he added.

Helga insisted that Swahili was so melodious that she always felt like dancing every time Kenyans spoke it. Ingrid was persistent in her claims that she could see the whole of Africa from the top of Mt. Kenya. As for Marianne, her descriptions of Edu left one with the impression that he was the epitome of the male species.

It was summer in Denmark but it was winter in Marianne’s heart. She really missed Edu and Kenya. Every time she looked at his photos, his passionate personality screamed at her.

Then there was Juvi gentle, wise and friendly.

“Do you know that I have a sister in Denmark,” he had once told her.

“Really, where does she live?”

“Odense.”

“Oh really! I must see her when I return.”

“You have already met her. She is tall, blonde and…” It was then that Marianne realized that he was talking about her. She really missed her African brother.

Her African experience was now impacting her European life. Everything she touched seemed to leave African fingerprints behind. Even though her attempt to cook ugali proved to be a disaster, it still gave her and her family a feel and taste of African food.

“It’s like Italian polenta,” his father commented. “And I think you should now look for some work and earn some money,” he added.

Marianne found a job in a nearby greenhouse and earned herself a stern reprimand when she was late for work on the first day. More African fingerprints as she wallowed in African time.

After working for several weeks, she decided to pay a former schoolmate a surprise visit. Again, she earned herself another reprimand when her friend advised her to ‘call first before visiting as I might be busy doing other things.’ More African fingerprints as she implemented Kenya’s surprise visits. In that part of the world, you just showed up at somebody’s door.

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Published in Life

News from Across Africa