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    This weblog is based on DIBUSSI TANDE's personal views on people, places, issues and events in Cameroon, Africa and the world!


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« Cameroon Set to Vote Despite 'Foul Play' | Main | Observers Declare Cameroon Elections "Most Massively Rigged" »

July 22, 2007


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The Brussels Airlines skirts the skies,
plunges through the overwhelming rain clouds,
and descends onto a milky clearing.

Now it floats past a rickety marsh of lean-to dwellings,
as everyone sits uptight.
There is little anticipation among passengers
worn out by journey and destination.

There's the US lottery winner coming home
to dispose of used western technology;
the ‘Equato-Guinéen’ flying home from Lisbon
where he's struck up deals on newly prospected
oil catchments off the Atlantic coastline.

The young Congolese 'débrouillard' from Brussels
who returns to 'invest' in the shaky stability
of Kabila’s stealthily cobbled peace.

You cannot tell Zairois from Cameroonais –
Zaire could have been Cameroun,
Or the Cameroun Zaire.

Old men that have been in Europe
as long as they were young:
they speak as many languages as in Western Europe.
Now they talk of the dread of being interred anonymous
in Europe’s sprawling urban white cemeteries.

Two youths return home to wed or find a loved heart;
There are visiting students coming home to renew
their resident statuses:
they seem a little unsure
if they will be granted permission to return abroad.

There is the agricultural engineer who's just completed
A six-month training course in Wateringen,
who looks forward to cobble a home with the hard savings
of a few months' stipend, put a roof over his wife and kids:

'The place to be is home', he tells me.
'The air is fresh and there's space.
You know everyone and you forget yourself.
You're spared the pains of color, of difference.
Besides you survive back home on so little.
Over there, what they pay with the right hand,
They reclaim with the left”.

Behind him are two old men who have lived abroad
long enough to forget about home.
Now some tragic death draws them back to their roots,
Or some long anguished pain to reenergize their stay abroad.

Ahead two youths with French residence papers,
stare ahead into the unknown labyrinth of cynical prognostications:
for months un-end they've worked hard and dreamt
of returning home to construct 'story-buildings'
higher than the equatorial canopies at the fringes
of the mosquito-infested city.

There is little anticipation among the weary passengers
who gaze out of the fog-blinded side windows
longing to catch a hazy sun that wanes above
the marshes that outline the city.

The plane soon dips and drops
and hits the eroded runway,
rumbles and gallops like a horse on a crazy fashoda,
then slows down, and shakes to a heroic standstill.

The stale and colonial passenger terminal appears
in the distance,
with ant-like figures crawling along corridors or walkways,
or mechanically waiting to fish fat on the arrivals:

airport police, custom officials, money changers,
greedy taxi men, débrouillards,
and familial relations anxious to seize and distance
the homecoming with his or her luggage
from restless, cynical, or blood-stained eyes.

The side door opens,
the flights' little temperate friendships dissolve,
overhead compartments drop down,
as the queue bumbles and shuffles out
of the air-conditioned space.

On the head of the stairway,
the sultry tropical heat
shoots an uneasy welcome
into the traveler's face and body,

and nervous apprehensions set in:

"Bienvenue à l’Aéroport International de Douala"

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