Spoke to mother hours ago. Two men from the landscape of my childhood just passed away. One was Pastor, the leader of one of the first churches that shaped my most vulnerable childhood times. He is around sixty years old. The other was Bro Kenny, younger, the director of the youth arm of the other church I belonged to as a teenager. Together with a select group of agile young people who all lived around that area of our youth, Bro Kenny as we called him then, led us through that period of our young restlessness.
Childhood and youth seems to fade away fast enough, and suddenly becomes a lifetime away. Faces from times past come flashing back, with strong energy currents of a familiar place… worshipers in church about three evenings a week, loving life with purest of enthusiasm, young innocent teenagers developing a crush for the very first time for fellow members of the youth group, trial music composers, dancers, proselytizers, picnickers, thespians, and general happy-go-lucky innocent boys and girls growing up within a bible-based yet liberal upbringing. Childhood was a little stricter, with religious instructions that extended beyond the church walls looming around as a constant threat and bulwark against our otherwise footloose rascally tendencies.
Where did all that go, dusty feet all around Akobo where all of this began? The naivete of youth, and the delightful profundity of biblical directions that sought to explain everything away? The simplicity of the day, the sweetness of the rain, the long pleasant smell of the harmattan at Christmas, the noise of little children during church services, the laughter of grown women and the intensity of their prayers up to heaven, the offering baskets and the coins we put in them, the general fervent intensity of youthfulness and mischief – all just floats around the plate of memory. Maybe this is what one death – or two – does: remind of how much was lost. And more importantly, how much more once was.