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June 20th 2009

    In both memory and history there is a subjective stance.  A date is fact, everything else is a whisper.  The wise accept this, the foolish do not.  On the continuum between wise and fool I am like a politician, happier when maneuvering amongst whispers, because this way my sins are either explained or undiscovered.

    Okanya once spotted a monkey.  It was high in the branches of a lone Tamarind Tree, and it was feeding on ripening fruit.  More surprising it was not in the least afraid of us, and Okanya's mother who was fond of Tamarind joined in the effort to chase it away.

    Okanya himself did not care for Tamarind, it was bitter and it upset his stomach, an excuse his mother refused to accept because Tamarind was good for the blood.   For my part I ate anything Okanya's mother gave me to eat and I thought Tamarind delicious, even if it did taste bitter and even if it did upset my stomach.

    By lunch time, we had been directed to stop throwing stones at the monkey because Europeans thought it a most charming addition to the garden.

   

 

   In the mid afternoon, as Okanya and I watched the monkey feasting and glaring down at us, Okanya told me that he had heard monkey was quite tasty.  We looked at the little creature's boney fingers, its eyes and eyebrows and decided that somehow it would be wrong to eat a monkey.

   That late afternoon there was a European gathering, a sort of festival of monkey which included beer, cocktails and peanuts.  The latter of these the monkey truly enjoyed, and while amongst some Europeans it became a competition to see how many peanuts the monkey could eat, others debated the monkey's origins.  Naturally there was giggling and laughter and jolly good white-kneed fun.

    The following day the monkey was gone.  Okanya looked guilty.  It had the quality of meat, but had tasted like tilapia, a most delicious fish from Lake Victoria.  And they had eaten it all, saving none for me. 

    I lied when I expressed disappointment, and ever since I have felt uncomfortable with that lie.

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(Tilapia)   (Tamarind)   (Monkey)