The wind stopped blowing, the caravan halted.
We start again to drip sweat. The enthusiasm of the early hours soon turned into fatigue. As always, we brought too much material, too much equipment. Is hard to move the body under this temperature, it seems slow, numb. Everything we drink within half an hour is already outside our body, evaporated, dissolved.
The fatigue, however, has not stopped us, at least so far. What we lack in strength we balance in resistance. We knew that the biggest struggle would be with ourselves, with our vulnerability, with being so addicted to comfort.
The vehicle departs. In this old van we are 20 persons crammed, all together, all greasy, here there is neither privacy nor comfort, here there is only the wind coming through the window. The more we go forward, the more difficult the path becomes, the care of the infrastructure becomes less and less. Outside the capital, there is no state aid. The streets are endless chasms, but neither for us nor for the driver this seems to be a problem.
The passengers start to go down. They go down into nothingness, in the darkness of the forest, we salute each other knowing that we will never see each other again. That darkness will be our greeting. We remain glued on the dark road, in the middle of nowhere. The caravan with a single light travels through the most absolute abyss. In those streets, the rural inhabitants who walk, with the basket in their heads, appear to us like flashes. Flashes of a single second, fast, vertiginous flashes, in that same road that our driver rides at senseless speeds. More than once both Viola and I are sure we have invested someone … but no, everything runs smoothly. He, who may not even have a driver’s license, proves to be an excellent driver. Perhaps, it would be better to say, a survivor of this forest.
I realize, while the miles run away, how light are the thoughts that crowd my conscience and how quiet my soul lives in this forest. And that this Africa is the natural morphine against every pain that my soul experiences. The lightness that it gives me, is only comparable to this deep and infinite darkness.
The night in the forest is different from what we expected, it’s silent, it’s dark, it’s quiet. Before going down, they put us on alert. Apparently, here, the anacondas are dangerous and they are not afraid of man. A little intimidated, we begin our journey. The wind has stopped, everything has stopped, it seems to have blocked every fan of the Earth. We, in a few seconds, are again wet, thanks to the dense forest vegetation.
The night is black, the forest is black, this Africa is black and we, thanks to our skin, are like moons walking in the darkness.
In the distance, we see a fire. The community is close, we hear the drums, or perhaps it is only the heart of Viola that exults.