Birthday Boy on the Boat

2003 > Uganda

It’s not 30, but 29 for the second time!

or you can just stand around
Swab the deck, matie!
Here I am, turning twenty-nine for the second time, while crossing Lake Victoria on a bucket of bolts that would do the ‘Africa Queen’ proud. In between kamikaze mosquito attacks, I wonder what I am doing here.

What drives me, at this advanced age, to be the lone mzungu on the MV Kabalega as it passes through the equator on this random day in February?

Its 10am, so shouldn’t I be dressed for success and completing tasks, not lounging in my linen pajamas, sipping milk tea and watching Pocahontas on the DVD with the crew?

Its Monday, so shouldn’t I be at work, making a career, or at least money, for myself, not here talking with a Ugandan rescue diver about visibility when searching for a ditched Egyptian fighter plane?

Its February, so shouldn’t I be wrapped in wool and leather, fending off the cold, not looking for shade from the equatorial sun in the crew’s quarters?

Its 2003, so shouldn’t I be thinking of how to be better, bolder, and more beautiful in 2004 and 2005, not here, planning only as far as the hotel I’ll stay at when we dock in Mwanza, Tanzania?

No, thinking more about it, as the cargo ship slowly passes local fishing boats, unchanged since times unknown, I should be here, now, and happy.

And I am.