I’m back! – – – – The outcome is that I will again pick up on some more stories from days in Missions, mostly overseas. But, today’s story is otherwise. The cataract surgery (first only 1 eye; now both!) went well; now I have to wait about 3 weeks to get new glasses!
In the “bush” area in Tanzania in which we lived there was an old man whose mind was really addled from the use of hemp – a drug which can drive one “crazy”. I understand that he wasn’t violent with people but often driven to shouting, destroying growing crops, beating cattle, upsetting village life and, of course, scaring folks wherever he showed up.
Ultimately, he was taken to the tribal chief’s court where his hands were bound in iron manacles – bound in front of him so at least he could feed himself. Then he was released to wander the countryside, begging for food and creating such disturbances as he could but with less possible danger to persons or animals or crops.
For some reason he took a liking to me. I never could seem to penetrate his muddled mind but I guess the fact that I was willing to talk to him made him happy. He came around quite often.
Then, he disappeared. He no longer came by. No one seemed to know where he was – or they just wouldn’t tell me. I guess “good riddance” was their attitude and the peace in their village was their priority.
He’s Back! – – – One day, ‘way out in the real bush area, I was hunting. Suddenly he showed up and ran up to greet me. He hadn’t forgotten me and asked, “Did you get the gift I left for you at your house?”
No, I hadn’t seen anything and I wondered what in the world he could give as a gift. “It was a ‘kanyao’ (small ‘meow’ [cat]) and I put it under the “mabati” (corrugated iron sheets) at the end of your house” he said.
Now, those mabati were the covering over a 20,000 gallon cistern I had built to catch the rain water off the roof of our house. No longer would we have to get our water from local ponds. What in the world could he have put under them? If it was a cat, what happened to it?
I thanked him and he left. As soon as I got home (it was now getting dark in the evening) I looked into the cistern. There, on top of the water was something floating. With a torch (flashlight) I saw: yes, it was a cat – now, of course, dead and beginning to decompose!
The next day I had a big job. The cistern was about 1/4 full of water. The cat carcase was retrieved and buried. All that “good” water had to be pumped out onto the ground and wasted. Now was the job to scrub out the cistern bottom and walls with a good disinfectant, rinse it well and let it dry – and then repaint with waterproofing paint (it needed to be done anyway – this was a good opportunity!) and wait for it to rain again.
I never did see that man again. AND the rains came early that year and filled up the cistern again giving us a good clean supply of water!