God of Hunger
The thought filled him with fear. And doubt in his ability to make a success of
what lay ahead. He knelt to pray just as the sun flashed an emerald light across
the far eastern horizon.
The next camp was at a place called Magugu where there was a junction in the
track, north to Babati and right to Magara right at the foot of the rift escarpment
at the head of Lake Manyara.
Land at Magugu and Magara had been offered to Kokopoulos as alternatives to
Dongobesh but he declined because the best land was already taken by
compatriots called Manoli and Mantheaki he had yet to meet but of whom he
knew, through contacts in Arusha, as pranksters and comics. Kokopoulos
sought solitude. He had no taste for fun and games and Dongobesh was virgin
land untouched as yet by white hand.
Nevertheless he called a halt on Manolis’s farm which was right beside the
track, just behind a duka, a small shop, ran by an Indian family. The farm
labourers who sat around the front of the shop playing what appeared to be a
chequer-like game, shifting pebbles around hemispheres carved out in regular
pattern in a log halved along its main axis. Others just sat and smoked while
one of there number plucked at a comb of metal strips attached to a sound box
the size of a hand.
Bwana Manoli was away in Babati visiting Bwana Zavakos but they were
welcome to camp here for the night and of course the Bwana was welcome to
use the house where the Mpishi (cook) would be called to prepare a meal.
The house was a hovel distinct only from a native hut by its corrugated iron
roof. It did however house a toilet. The pedestal was cracked and the fissures
were filled with mastiha the chewing gum from Hios. Manolis was also a Hiot.
This much Kokopoulos knew. He knew too the faint but unmistakable scent of
mastiha packets of which were piled on the window ledge behind him as he sat
to relieve himself laughing out loud at the resourcefulness of his absent host.
Kokopoulos left a note of appreciation and helped himself to chewing gum
which lasted all the way to his land.
On the third day of travel, the safari made further progress, past Kibauni
towards Babati, thence to his virgin farmland.