Sunday, March 1, 2009
Coneilia phoned me frantically this morning to tell me that her brother had been murdered. Last night he was found at the bottom of a well, with his head bashed in and signs of having been beaten. This brother is the father of Dieudonne, the adolescent boy Coneilia has been raising for the past twelve years. Although she has been sick for the past week with a large boil in her throat, tomorrow she must travel to Douala to purchase a casket, make arrangements to transport his body back to their village and prepare for the funeral. (She has other siblings, but apart from a sister who works as a nurse in the Netherlands, Coneilia is the only one with a steady income, and her extended family relies heavily on her in times of crises.) I was tempted to offer to travel with her, but everyone that she has to deal with would charge her higher prices if a white woman were accompanying her.