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Strange present

What is the most strange present you ever had? For me it's a lamb. I've heard interesting story getting an iguana from her boy friend as a birthday present. So the lamb is not strange at all? Yes, it's strange enough for me. And add for that I was said by presenters "Let's eat it together later, Fumi" If it will be ended up eating together, why does it need to be my own? I have more sense of guilt because now it belongs to me.

The story begins with visiting my friend Zaal to Kaolack, Senegal. I hold the paper which his address is on. It says "Kandadiola, Kaolack" So as soon as I arrive at Kaolack, I ask people where the Kandadiola is. However each people point out different direction. Are they real Kaolack citizens?
I'm almost giving up and walking end of the town. A boy asks me. "What are you looking for?""Ah, yeah, my friend's house""What's the name?""It's Zaal, Zaal of Kandadiora"I answer without any expectation. "Yes, I know. Cos' he is my neighbor" Cannot find when I'm looking for desperately and can find it when I have no expectation, the life is so capricious."So, where is the Kandadiola?" "Over there"He points out the vacant lot beside the road. (Actually, garbage are thrown away here and there in the vast vacant lot. So I cannot define it as a vacant lot nor garbage yards in exact. I often saw such ambiguous lands especially around the towns in Africa.) I look over the direction. Yeah. I see the huts far away across the vacant lot. The huts look so tiny and almost fading into sand breeze and mirage.

At the entrance of the village, I come across the young man who knows Zaal. According to him, Zaal lives in Thies for the job. Thies is the town where is just 80km from Dakar. Passing by the Thies, I've come to Kaolack which is 200km away from Dakar. I'm invited his house and have some tea. Then I'm taken to a house of Zaal's family. I'm introduced by his mother, and brothers, sisters, relatives, neighbors, cattle chicken and sheep. At the result, I'm so confused. But who much more being confused must be the residence of Kandadiola. Because suddenly strange Asian guy visit the village. I must be their 1st. Asian guest without any doubt.

A few days later I leave Kaolack where Zaal isn't, and take the bush taxi for Thies. After all, the town which he lives in is not Thies neither. It's the small town called Tivaouane in an hour distance from Thies by car. There is a tree lined main street. Tivaouane is a charming town. I visit the house in front of the 1st. hospital as I was told.
Zaal, mama (landlady) and her families welcome to me."Hi, Fumi. For a year. I hard you've visited Kanda, haven't you? Have you met mama and brothers?" I nod. The name of Kandadiola seems to be shorten like "Kanda" It's interesting to me because the name is same to the busiest district near Akihabara in Tokyo.

We have enjoyed the talking after long intervals. Then Zaal tells me all of sudden. "Hey Fumi. I'll give you the lamb." "Excuse me Zaal. What you said?" I ask. "LAMB. You saw the baby sheep in Kanda, didn't you? That little sheep. It's yours. Next time you came to Senegal, let's eat it together!""Me.. Merci ...."I've got lamb so easily.

Since then, I've always thought "Visiting Senegal next time means the time the rum will be eaten. It's so poor" From the reason I have not seen Senegal for long time. Some time Zaal gave me the E-mail report about growth of my lamb. However the serial report was discontinued one day. It must be the sign what my sweet heart was getting into some one's stomach.

Aug. 2006

Today's piece
"Portrait" Dakar, Senegal 2002

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