Adonis Diaries

Why my parents decided to leave Africa? Introspection

Posted on: December 20, 2008

My early years (Continue 7)

I don’t remember much of my first five years in Africa; maybe the trauma of my typhoid disease erased most of my early memory.  Mother BREAST FED ME FOR THREE years, as she did with my brother later, and she was very protective and kept a close watch over her first-born child. I had a hard birth and the physician didn’t expect me to live more than two days; I would not breast feed and in desperation, mother forced milk into my mouth.  Mother told me that I was made to spend my days on the counter top of the shop and I used to drill holes in the Nestle milk cans.  I tend to corroborate Amelie Nothomb hypothesis that lack of palate sugar voluptuousness is a main factor for slow brain development.  Most probably, mother didn’t indulge me with chocolate or sweet condiments; thus, I took my revenge destroying valuables or maybe to licking the sugary Nestle.

On the other front of verbal development I had a “boubou” or a very young African mute as personal friend or “body-guard”. I have a picture with Boubou sitting on his heels while I am riding a small tricycle.  It is natural for babies to learn easily all languages, including sign and eye languages; I assume that I communicated well with “boubou” and we had great friendship and affection since maybe my first fully developed language was the mute related language.  I can assume that verbal communication in three other languages simultaneously might have been very hard; Lebanese/Arabic, French and “Bambara” (the main language in Mali).  Not that comprehending multiple languages is difficult for babies but the people are difficult to understand for the contradictory meanings they convey.  Not that homonym and synonyms and all the “yms” in languages are serious obstacles to a baby’s flexible mind, but the minds and emotions of mature talking people are insurmountable barriers for clear directions.  I guess that I have set the grounds for plausible sources of my verbal unintelligible adventure.  I went to school at the french Brethren for only three months before I fell dangerously ill and managed to learn the multiplication tables.  An African helper would take me on his bicycle to school.

Why my parents decided to leave Africa?

My parents had a very prosperous business and were very liked in Sikassou; they had to sell their business and house in 1961for cheap after the Independence of Mali from the colonial power France:  Dad was too afraid to end up in prison if he were caught smuggling out his hard-earned money.  They sold their properties to the White French Brethren who paid the money but my folks never received a dime.  It seems one of my “uncles” who received the money on behalf of my dad invested the money for his own benefit and lost his money again.

The English language uses “uncle” to represent any older relation to the family but Arabic has special names to discriminate the sort and relative side in the relations. For example, my mother has five sisters “khalaat” and their husbands are called “3adeel” (the number 3 is used in Arabic internet to represent a special Arabic vocal close to aa); dad has five sisters “3amaat” and their husbands are “sohor”. Thus in Arabic specific names differentiate among these uncles; even the real close uncles, from the mother and father sides, have words of their own.

All of us, kids, were born in Mali and were transferred to Lebanon in order not to be exposed to the numerous tropical diseases.  In actuality, we were not saved physically or emotionally or mentally from other kinds of diseases that plagued our development and we had to suffer the consequences of hard decisions that our folks were faced with.

When dad opened a shop in Lebanon then he had to close it within three years because clients would not repay their accounts.  Mother used to go with her sister Therese to Downtown Beirut to shop for dad and she enjoyed that part in the business very much.

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adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2008
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