A few days ago, I heard an inordinate amount of squawking. There really shouldn’t need to be that much squawking involved in the killing of one chicken, which is all we need(ed) to feed ourselves at the compound in Tilt. Then I saw a pile of chicken feathers far too big to be one chicken.
“Exactly how many chickens are they killing?” I asked my colleague.
“Ten.” He answered.
As it turns out, for me. Not for me to eat, but for a party in honor of me. They were trying to keep the existence of an actual party something of a surprise, but the squawking gave things away.
Someone rode a bike into town and borrowed a big stereo, which arrived tied to the back rack of the bicycle, and four tapes of African dance music. Someone else made a long trail of power strips from my tukul to the table set in the middle of the compound. The cooks made ten chickens, two
It was a full-on African party. I always feel a need to bring something when I’m invited to parties, but that doesn’t happen in
We danced around in the middle of the compound, all of us, including the cooks and the guards. The very old guard held his stick in his hands as he danced. We ate and drank. There were speeches and jokes, and even the weather cooperated – cool, without rain.
The only slight little flaw in all the perfection was knowing that it marked the end. In the morning, nearly packed, I was loaded down with envelopes to bring to Juba, to