WHITE MANíS GRAVE13 April 2018, Pepino
I've seen it all, I have seen the trees
I've seen the willow leaves dancing in the breeze
I've seen a man killed by his best friend And lives that were over before they were spent
I've seen what I was — I know what I'll be I've seen it all — there is no more to see!
All my friends said that Malarone, the antimalarial medication I was taking in Benin, didn’t have any unwanted side effects. My experience was worse, it filled my soul with darkness. Was it the drug or Africa that caused me mental health issues? Was it the chemical compound or the humid and hot place called White Man’s Grave? I felt anxious, sad and empty, suffered discouragement, sleeplessness and lack of appetite (My African diet made me lose five kilograms). Or was it my whiteness and privilege that didn’t cope with the West African poverty?
I met great people, did a fantastic art project and set up a portrait painting business that could employ two locals permanently, if it works out. The voyage was a total success but I feel destroyed.
I’m too old for adventures. I’ve seen enough. I’ve seen China. I’ve slept in a watch tower of the Great Wall. I’ve slept in a textile factory in Shenzhen. I’ve seen civil wars. I’ve seen drug wars. I’ve seen refugee camps. I’ve seen shanty towns. I’ve looked down the barrel of an AK-47. I’ve been arrested by police and militia men. I’ve been investigated by a security service. I’ve received death threats. I’ve been on TV. I don’t know how much life I have left but I want to spend it at home, sain et sauf.