After re-reading this article last night, I traveled to the end of the world and was happy to find that I am still writing insightful pieces such as the below, which was first published in the New York Times on October 19, 2029.
The apocalypse has a silver lining, except it’s black and white – and if we live long enough to procreate another generation, a harmonious hue of caramel. The recent shower of meteorites has done more for inter-racial solidarity in Africa than Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey and Robin Thicke combined.
“I was watching this pale blonde woman running up and down dodging the pieces of falling rock,” muses Peter Otieno, a matatu (minibus) driver in Nairobi, “and I thought, wow! Bazungu may be so powerful but at the end of the day they’re just human, like me.” Otieno offered Erin Vogt, a Norwegian aid worker, shelter in his matatu, which he had strategically parked beneath a grassy bank that absorbed the impact of the meteor shards.
Yesterday, Vogt invited him to her house to thank him for saving her life. It is there that I met him, his calloused hands fumbling with imported china as a huge smile split his face. His eyes occasionally wandered around the room with a blend of gratitude and disbelief.
This time last year, Otieno was probably wielding a machete on the streets. Thanks to the apocalypse, now he was sitting on Ikea furniture with his expat friend, drinking peppermint tea. “It’s nicer than chewing gum!” he exclaimed, eliciting a smile from the elegant Vogt, who admits that this is the first time she has had a black person over for tea.
“The apocalypse changed everything,” she explains. “It was always us bringing them things, teaching them things, helping them make the most of their wealth, you know? Sometimes, as much as you love your work, you would get this sense of exasperation like, will they ever stand on their own feet?” But the apocalypse has brought out a new side in Africans – one marked by resourcefulness, organization and compassion.
This mentality is commanding respect from the large population of white people that have re-settled in Africa since its rise two decades ago. In turn, their vulnerability in the face of the Apocalypse has touched the hearts of Africans, giving rise to a new era of solidarity.
“We are in this together,” declared Otieno. “Erin told me that when she is evacuated after this shower subsides, I can have all her Maasai blankets and her teas. She even followed me on twitter.” Vogt shrugged, seemingly embarrassed by this revelation of her generosity. “It’s the least I can do,” she said modestly. “He is my African brother now.”
As told to Paula Akugizibwe @ihozopa