Monday, 24 January 2005

Venus in Furs

We go to a staff member's leaving party on Saturday. The rain is torrential, and someone has perilously erected some canvas sheeting over some poles to provide shelter outside. As the rain belts down the canvas sags lower and lower until it becomes obvious that we must leave or drown.

We rush for the small one-room house, which is lit only by a hurricane lamp. We watch as, like dominoes, first the barbecue collapses, shooting sparks into the night sky, then the canvas falls, spilling water everywhere.

Inside there is dancing. Every track on the portable cassette player sounds the same - monotonous kwasa kwasa. Party games commence. A woman is asked to name five things she likes about her neighbour. She begins, 'I like her because she is fat'.

Next is joke-telling. One after another five men take the floor to tell a joke. Although they speak in English, I don't get them. I think the humour is supposed to be found in the fact that they are talking about other tribes in the country and telling of their dull children and slow wit.

The Man In Charge Of Drinks comes round every five minutes trying to press another Coke on me. My teeth are already screaming in agony from the sugar, so each time I lie and tell him I already have a bottle. Then The Woman In Charge Of Food appears. She is magnificent. Her wig of choice that night is a braided turban-style. She sports hospital clogs and she is wearing a fur coat. She majestically passes round a plate of chicken. I like eating chicken, it is one less running around to annoy me.