Pendent le deluge

The deluge continued through the night, and we hope Lesotho continues to receive it. Rain pounded on our windows and on the beach and on the waves. Water everywhere. When we got sun-breaks, we dashed out for ocean air and sand on our feet. This morning my body ached for a long walk on the beach. I can breathe here, at sea-level. My heart doesn’t threaten to burst out through my ears. So I walked, found a rhythm, my feet swept by fingers of foam. Then a rainstorm swept in and drenched me to the skin. Yes. Every molecule of my body opened to all that wetness, shivering with pleasure.

Yesterday M’e Mpho was able to walk to the beach. We found twenty minutes between rainfalls, and I led her down while the kids were off in town. Between the current sucking her feet to the sea and the wind whipping her legs with sand, she didn’t want to linger, but she did wet her feet in the ocean, laughing all the way. By the time she got back to the flat, she was exhausted. She marveled,

“I feel I have been working hard all day. I am too old, really. But I am so glad to see this.”

Libuseng and Tumisang watch MTV, American movies, and South African serials on TV; they eat; they wander off to town to dream over shoes and clothes in the shops. It turns out Tumisang is an adventurous cook, given material to work with. He whipped up an interesting dish yesterday: grated carrots, boiled eggs, a can of beans, some mayo, and a dusting of curry powder. Last night he made broiled chicken, rice (every grain whole and perfectly tender without sticking), and a sauce of carrot and onion. He says he learned from his mother, M’e Mpho’s only daughter, who cooks for White people in Johannesburg.

I have brought them to the mall today, which is where I am renting computer time while they window-shop. Scottburgh is booming compared with 15 years ago. It seems to have become a popular holiday and retirement center. Charles Hoffe Pfark, where we’re staying, is operated by the friendly sixtyish Afrikaner couple who managed it in the 90s, with their large dovecote and their aviary full of parakeets and small parrots. The cleaning, maintenance, and gardening is done by Zulu people; the supervisors are Indian; the owners are White. South Africa as usual. But some of the guests, other than the ones with me, are of Color. This is new.

The skies and sea are endlessly dramatic. Great black rain clouds near the earth are punctured by shafts of sunlight sparkling on the water. Above the rain clouds, acres of blue sky, dotted white. A few dozen surfers are at play. In this country where “race” and the history of race is crucial to everything, the light makes it impossible to see the skin color of the surfers. They are all black stick-figures against the water and the bright sky. It’s the weekend, and even though it’s off-season, the parking lot at Charles Hoffe Park is packed, not an empty space to be had.


About Kendall

Aging drama queen (former professor of theatre) writes, takes pictures, and messes about.
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6 Responses to Pendent le deluge

  1. Pat Hathaway says:

    I love this blend of land, people, weather, observation, reaction, description, thought, imagination, hope–an enchanting blend. Makes me hungry for more.

  2. leiflife says:

    Such a richness – visual, emotional, informational. It is your journey in the midst of fulfillment. I love being with you as you live this full speed ahead. Bravo!

  3. revjett says:

    I hope you’re taking photos of all this.

  4. Keith says:

    I can’t imaging how it must have felt to be able to give M’e Mpho her dream. Of course, when my mother was alive, I did little things for her that made her happy; but nothing on this scale; and reading your story makes me happy that you were able to make M’e Mpho happy, but also fills me with sadness that I didn’t do more for my mother before it was too late.

    • Kendall says:

      I’m glad you said that, Keith. Whoever we love, we can do more for them. We probably won’t, but it’s good to kick ourselves now and then–a card, a phone call, an email. Anything beats that nothing that results from our guilt…I haven’t called because I feel bad for not having called. That cycle is no fun to ride.

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