Francistown is not a place on a map, it is a memory teeming with life. A vivid memory that is seeping out of my very being, aching to be written.
Those days were filled with being. A passion for life that ensues in a place where life is often fleeting, and never guaranteed. Where those who we have lost are a testament to our life.
We lived despite the obvious lack, and danger.
Endure with courage, the lion, passionate symbolism that pervaded our everyday lives.
Francistown was a thriving anomaly. The dusty streets carried the cries of the mourning sun and the smell of death was carried on the winds. Yet we lived. Witnesses to the gravesites, their shadecloth coverings ensuring souls a restful peace. Men sweated in silence as they dug. Restpectful, cars stopped for processions. Women ululated.
Feasts amid the famine were laid out, dry days filled with rejoicing ceremony. The town was growing, the outskirting suburbs were expanding by the day. Graveyards. Business was burgeoning. Death, afterall, is opportunity.
Pula they cried.
And the rains came, eventually, in the form of a new generation budding.
We learnt our ABCs, certainly the traditional version, but almost more importantly the life-saving version too:
Abstain. Be wise. Condomise.