Moses

Moses was a friendly, cheerful young Samburu. He was a musician. In one end of a gray PVC pipe, half an inch wide and about thirty inches long, he had made two small holes. Somehow he adjusted his mouth to the other end and artfully blew in it. This was his flute.

For hours on end, in the star-studded tropical night he sent up monotonous melodies in a never-ending variety of rhythms. They blended in with the sounds of the crickets and the frogs, the nightjars, the owls, and the screams of the bush babies playing in the trees. Sometimes we asked him to play under the window of our child, to send him off to sleep, weaving Africa into his being.

One evening he brought his chair under the magnificent wild fig tree in front of my window and sat down where I could see him. He took out his flute and, without saying a word, began to play.

He knew how I loved it, and at first he played for me. But as the light changed into sunset, then dusk, then night, and the stars appeared in the sky, he played for himself. Evermore he seemed to sink deeper within his own being until there was nothing but the sound of his flute, and I sensed how he was back in the endless plains of the country of his youth, alone with the stars, God, and his own heart.

In those hours, his love for Mama, as they called me, blended with my love for Moses in the sound of a piece of gray PVC pipe. Oh, Africa, there is no heart like yours on this planet!