Bola une

I’ve been heading out each week to visit my mate who had a stroke about 6 months ago. He still can’t walk but he can sit well, stand up with people helping him and he’s pretty switched on still and can communicate well.

His whole family has moved from their house in the village to live out at the farm. The conditions are very basic. There are 4 small grass huts. His wife told me that when they first arrived they found that all of the grass and plastic had been stolen off the roof. They replaced it all but then on Monday, a willy willy tore through the farm and ripped it all off again! We looked up and saw a shredded piece of black plastic hanging from a tree branch about 5m up! There’s a little grass fenced bathroom – no roof and a river about 1km away where they get all of the water they need.

They’ve taken everything from home – clothes, pots, pans, an old mattress, mosquito net, his wheelchair. They even packed up the family of ducks and moved them out. The kids and grandkids are all there too.

He sleeps on a mattress on the dirt floor. The wall behind and to the left is made of grass. It’s an open plan – no wall at all on the right hand side, the view is spectacular. Not quite sure what the plan is when it rains? The ground is terribly uneven, the wheelchair almost useless.

The first time I arrived, they weren’t expecting me so Baba was still in bed, waiting for someone to dress him and prop him up somewhere to watch the world go by. As he lay there waiting for his son to come and lift him out of bed, he asked me if I’d heard about the other man in his village who had also had a stroke. He said he couldn’t stand or walk but he also couldn’t speak. He said, “bola une,” meaning, “I’m much better off”.

What an incredible perspective.

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