God of Hunger
In Poland, after her work on General Sikorski’s diary which had only recently
surfaced in Wroclaw, (Vrotswaf) Marisha herself had became drawn to Africa.
It was certainly the stories the women told that first interested her. But there
was, also at the time, a push by the state to get involved in the continent.
In April 1961 she reported for Vistula a trade agreement between Ghana and
Poland. Quickly followed by a visit to Poland by the Nigerian Minister of Trade
and Industry. He asked her out for a meal and back to his hotel where she just
laughed at his drunken attempts to pull her down onto the floor.
Next she reported on the goodwill and friendship mission to Mali, Niger,
Senegal and the Ivory Coast, She declined a place on the first official Polish
visit to these countries but she wrote up the record for her journal. And became
a founder member in 1962 of the Friends of Africa Society. It set up the Patrice
Lumumba Scholarship Fund to provide young Africans with grants for higher
education in Poland. Next it organised conferences on Africa and initiated visits
from Poland to the continent to promote cultural and scientific co-operation to
the benefit of both. All sprung from the „sympathy felt by the Polish people
with the growth of the national-liberation movement in Africa.’ So said its first
statute. What it really meant was an opportunity to travel. And Marisha decided
it was now her turn.
The project she had in mind involved Jozef, though he did not yet know of it.
In her reading, she found mention of an eighteenth century adventurer, who, it
was said, may have been a Pole, one Maurycy Beniowski, the „King of
Madagascar’ after whom a street in the capital, Tananarive was named. So she
applied to the Society for a grant to research this story. It was given without
question as was permission for travel arranged through London. And so it was
that Jozef became involved. “Would it not be nice to travel together?” She lay
in his arms talking the night away. He agreed. What else could he do? He tried
to interest her physically but she just talked over his frustrated efforts to
overcome her coolness.
Eventually he proposed a month long trip, sailing from the mouth of the
Ruvuma across the straits to Madagascar. All alone in the sun, sea, starlight.
Jozef desperately wanted the greater physical closeness this journey would
afford. But even as they lay naked in bed or on a beach there was no response
from her to his heated advances.
“What is it with you Marisha?”
“What do you mean?’
“Mother of God. Surely you can see what is happening and not happening!”