I’m sorry, but I had to give up after 29 pages of endless dribble. If America finds this a hilarious book, then we’re more different than I thought – and if a British person finds this book funny, immigration comes to mind.
I just didn’t get it. Mr. Ferris I wouldn’t write another too soon.
The other day I experienced the end of an era – more so than I ever have before. On Saturday, May 17, 1997, my parents gave me a present that turned my life into a different direction. The years before I was laways seen standing in awe of the church organist’s skill and on many occasions I tried to mimik much to the annoyance of the adults trying to converse in theology. Yet on that Saturday my time had now come – my parents took me to a strange new place that would become so familiar to me over the forthcoming years – my piano teacher’s crib.
Over the next 11 years I would pass from Grade to Grade annoying my teacher with lack of practice – to my dismay but also to my delight when I would be told, “You could be great if only you practiced!” He was right. I could be great, but for some reason my mind didn’t compute the last few words: “if only you practiced“.
The years seemed to roll by with discussions with my teacher on every topic possible but never too deep to cause the other to soul-search. I am really going to miss those.
I’ve only now, to a small degree, come to realise the importance of time – it is too precious to be wasted. Sadly, however, it’s only when time runs out when you realise, “What the heck have been wasting my life on?!” And there’s no point telling others about it; time wastage is truly something that you have to learn yourself and most of the time, you learn it the hard way.
These 11 years have gone by so fast, and although I very much doubt that my piano teacher is reading this, I just want to say thank you for all those years – they haven’t been wasted.
I started this book with great anticipation. I had been to Uganda the year before and although she is only a neighbouring country it was surprising how different yet how similar our experiences had been. Different, in the sense of language and infrastructure, but the same in regards to the smaller aspects such as food and Swahili phrases. I got excited when he described things that I had forgotten such as eating cassava, million fish and the constant screeching of the phrase, “Muzungu!” by the younger children.
What I loved about this book was the fact that in no way was it another book depicting the plight of the indigenous peoples of Africa. It was well written with historical analysis weaved into his travel from one side of the Congo to the other.
One striking thing he wrote was describing the source of the Congo’s problems as he sees it,
I can think of no concept more abused in modern Africa than sovereignty…While outsiders led by Stanley can be blamed for creating this situation, the people of Africa must share responsibility for showing themselves unable to change it.
But it what Johnny, one of the last people he met on his journey that really painted the picture:
People who say there is no money in Africa is talking [rubbish]…I have seen with my own eyes that there has always been plenty of money, whether it’s for diamonds, cobalt, safari hunting, whatever…If you think you can solve Africa’s problems with money, then you are a…fool.
Johnny goes on to describe the only way that will set Africa in good stead, but you’ll have to read the book to find out.
This was an amazing book, I would recommend it to everyone who is interested in Africa or who has been to Africa. How much is it portrayed in the media that money will save Africa? Well, according to the Congolese people, money will only cause greater problems.
From beginning to end Butcher writes in such a way that it captures your interest and curiosity. Go read it and add a comment here!