From one Generation to the Next
Finally, we are on the road to the reserve. The ride has been fairly unremarkable. There have been no incidents and no drama, only continuous scenery of grasslands sparsely dotted with trees as far as the eye can see: with the exception, of course, of the mountain Fortunate told us about. The legend is that if you climb it you will never come back again. Which begs the question – was the crucifix placed at the summit for the climber’s faith and family, or for himself?
On a side note, I imagine outlaws spreading word they went up the mountain to make people believe they have disappeared. What a hat trick!
Fortunate has so far been very forthcoming about his culture and his family. In fact, last night I got to interview him a little bit over the dinner table. He told us that he is of the Pedi culture, or perhaps you could call it a tribe. Historically it is an agriculturally focused community, with one god and many ancestors. It is typically patriarchal, but I suppose that in some cases women are not inhibited from making their own choices or from being breadwinners, as Fortunate told me he was raised by his mother and he seems to have great respect for his grandmother.
I really enjoyed the stories he told us about his grandmother, specifically that she has the now-rare observational skills to predict the weather two days in advance, and with accuracy. I do hope his granny was able to pass that down in some measure, for I feel that is true and useful wisdom. Furthermore, he said his granny, as a child, had raised and cared for cattle. When one was infected with foot and mouth disease his granny merely concocted some tincture from a local plant to treat the poor thing. And lo, and behold! It was cured.
The tragedy is that this plant has since been eradicated. We have long since lost the key to the cure to what has been and surely will be one of the greatest plagues upon the industry of mass domestication and meat production.
What irony, that we have so many mouths to feed, and not enough ears to hear the wisdom of past generations.
– Clara Bowe