Monday, November 8, 2010

The Voice of Africa

    Bob crooned in my ear.

“One love, one heart. Let’s get together and feel alright.
As it was in the beginning! One love…”

    Ah, Mr. Marley; the voice of Africa. Everywhere we went we heard his songs played on tinny ghetto blasters. Arnie’s stereo was no better and you would think the monotony of the same 2 tapes over and over again would push one over the edge, but it just became the soundtrack of our journey. When I needed a break, I could always slip on the headphones of my walkman and disappear in the dark whining of Robert Smith from The Cure or John Waite’s sad lament in “Missing You” that reminded me of friends far from arm’s reach. Mostly though, I just sat back and hummed along to Bob Marley as the miles passed under our wheels in the pursuit of life and adventure.

    With time, our journey, like Arnie, was beginning to show the wear and tear from our travels. In Masvingo, we had patched the hole that was torn in the muffler from the road from hell in Mozambique. The patch was a temporary fix, and as the miles stretched out ahead of us again, the putty found it could not hold its muster. There were other signs that Arnie was getting tired of our constant pilgrimage as well; our starter motor was now completely done, our fuel efficiency was slowly slipping, the slider door no longer sealed easily, often requiring two, three or more shoves of the door to shut it tight. Yes, it was almost time to say goodbye.

    Goodbyes loomed large for more than just the van though, as our group steered along on the last leg of our journey. In a week’s time, the gift that had been presented to me by Fate’s own hands many months before, in the Johannesburg airport, would drift away from me, from us. It was time for Miki to go home. In a mere week and a half, she would be back in Canada, far from the dry landscape of Zimbabwe. Oliver would go his own way again. Brett and I would have to decide how much further we could push Arnie, before we propped a For Sale in his window.

    Today was not yet that day though. Today, we pushed on along twisty, turny roads. We claimed victory at another petrol station reached, and shoved off towards Bulawayo where a taste of city life would encircle us again. The roads were getting shorter though and Bob’s voice seemed poignant, as I stared at my travelling companion’s heads in the front seat.

Sing it Bob…

“No, woman, no cry;
Good friends we have,
Oh, good friends we’ve lost
Along the way…”

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