Do you ever find yourself there? “This time last week…”, or “This time last year…” things were better, or things were different. We imagine our situation without the events of the recent past and instead imagine what might have been if we could go back ,groundhog day style, and start it all again. I have been there many times this last week, but this morning I know that this time last week we woke up after having the awful night were we sat with my friends family with the dead, still warm body of their husband, dad and friend there in the room with us. There wasn’t much we could do other than sit and pray.
As time slowly passed from that event the reality sets in and I realise that dropping in to his house will never be the same. He has gone and the reality is is that death has claimed another life all too cheaply in Mozambique. Sometimes, sadly, due to the regularity of death in Africa we can forget that people lives here are filled with as many relationships, complexity, love, family, meaning and value as a life in Australia or America.
So I want to honour my friend Malemo Daude Bakasi (Malemo out of respect that he has died). A man who lead his family through two wars, including fleeing into the bush for weeks, in only the clothes on their back. A man who endured suspicion and rumors with grace and dignity. A bloke who was immensely proud of his children and grandchildren and could turn his hand to anything from farming, running a shop, making steel buckets from scratch, sewing and the list goes on. He welcomed in a bunch of strange white people and suffered the frustration of building a relationship with them even through they butchered his beloved language! He pursued God with the information that he had and was keen and open to learning new stories that could teach him more.
Thanks Bakasi. Mpaka disuku dine.