Friday, June 19, 2009

Storytelling: God of Rain

***I am going to start posting a series of stories. Some stories are mine, and some stories belong to others. I leave it up to all of you to decide which ones are which. And no, judging whether the story is written in 1st or 3rd person will not help you!***

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22 kilometers off the main road from the town of Kapoeta in the South East of Southern Sudan a charity organization based in this small village was very excited at the prospect of setting up their new generator. It had been 1 year of operations without electricity in that location, with the mainly Kenyan staff driving the 1 hour each way it takes down the bumpy road to Kapoeta several times a week to check and send emails.

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As a side note, and completely unrelated to this story (or maybe not???), this is a region where use of clothing is alternative at best and optional to say the least. Unmarried women are bare-chested and married women tie a piece of cloth over one shoulder, exposing only their right breast. It is completely common for men to wear no clothing at all, and if they do wear anything, it is only a shirt. This village Chief, for example, favors wearing nothing but a suit jacket. In meetings with him you have to sit and manage to have a serious conversation about the future of your program all the while looking him in the eye and keeping a straight face and trying not to visibly react when his 1 year old grandson crawls under his legs, looks up, and STARTS PLAYING WITH THE CHIEF'S ROD AND TACKLE with no reaction whatsoever from the Chief himself. Not even a glance in the direction of the grandson. If that is not a trial in self control I don't know what is.

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Finally the anticipated day arrived and the generator was installed, hooked up, and turned on. BRRRRRRRRRUP BRRRRRUP BRRRRUP BRRUP BRRUP BRRUP BRRUP BRRUP went the generator, and after the cheers of job from the staff all hell broke loose. Villagers came running in from every direction totally freaking out, shouting "Shut it off! Shut it off!" very visibly distressed. Two things were the matter. One, no one in that village had ever heard the sound of a generator before and did not know what it was. Second, all the shouting villagers were gathering around one tree in the compound. It turns out that the piece of land given to the organization by the village Chief to build the compound happened to be the location of the one sacred tree where the village's God of Rain lived. Coincidentally the generator house was located right next to the God of Rain's Tree and when turned on, all the people were convinced the noise would anger the God of Rain and bring death and destruction to the village. Why was this organization never told they were the protectors of the God of Rain? No way to tell.

Three months later the solar panels arrived, and weeds had begun growing around the generator.

6 comments:

sligo said...

it's like reading about parallel universes, where things are the same as 'this' one even as they are not!

i invisioned this story as i read it as though it were a page from a graphic novel.

you continue to expand my awareness.

stay safe.

M.Lane said...

Cool story! You ARE going to put text in the photo book you ARE working on arent you? We are all lining up out here in the rest of the world.

ML
mlanesepic.blogspot.com

Petunia said...

sligo: i love your idea of a parallel universe - instead of being firmly planted in one or the other, i am visiting one universe with the perspective of the other universe. trippy.

M.Lane: all these calls for a photo book! i think i just may have to make one...that can be my project when i am home in the US in a couple weeks!

nyGRINGAinCHILE said...

that's hilarious. and i'm goin to bet this is a true story.

Kyle said...

Ok I really hope that the second part is truly yours because that is hilarious!

Petunia said...

nyGRINGAinCHILE: oh this is true, but not all of it happened to me! btw, girl you know i love you, but you gotta do something about your name...the capitalizations are killing me!

Kyle: It is indeed hilarious! Some of the things that happen here are just out of this world. P.S. I hope you continue to be on the mend.