A Hundred Gourds 2:3 June 2013
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page 9  

Bob Lucky - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The Story of His Life

Above Sarangkot, a middle-aged man, introducing himself as Umesh, walks with my wife and tells his life story. I catch snatches of it –the dead wife, oldest son in Qatar, young children going to schools with high fees.

His story not having moved my wife, he changes it slightly for me – four children instead of three, and they have to walk hours to and from school; now his sister is also dead, the victim of a horrible bus accident; and instead of farming corn and millet, he has to walk down the mountain every day to work in Pokhara.

out of breath
watching an ant climb
over my boot

Before sunset we head back down. At the edge of the village is a viewing platform. We share it with a Japanese tour group for ten minutes, mesmerized by a peak, a gleam of white, emerging from behind a cloud and slowly disappearing. Turning to go, I hear Umesh telling an elderly Japanese couple, in Japanese, the story of his life.

long bus ride
a fake fossil
in my pocket


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