Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Putting up a Structure

A mantra she often repeated in her time as education minister
Was about the great importance of putting up a structure
For there was a poverty in our development that had to be fought
And so she made the rounds of the donors for the funds we sought

It was hardly conducive to have classes gather under the sun, a roof of clear sky
Exposed to the vicissitudes of the elements, where it was hard to keep dry
With dust everywhere, tropical rainstorms, and other misfortunes
And the dissonance of so many learning in those outdoor classrooms

She would contrast with the comparatively well-appointed chambers
She beheld in her time at Volta Hall at the University at Legon
Let alone the high tables at Wolfson College in Cambridge
When she would drink port after dining with the dons

Yet this covidious affliction has caused quite the turnaround
Causing upheaval everywhere and making the once sound unsound
Ventilation is the order of the day if you want to avoid viral strife
Classes, as a best practice, would do well to gather outdoors, under trees of life

True, an elephant which is lean is still fatter than a cow
But it turns out going al fresco is all the rage everywhere now
I read of many western universities pondering outdoor tents
This upheaval is a rather bewildering turn of events

Still, it wasn't a wasted effort to construct those schools, indeed it's a miracle
There's always more to do, but I altogether think that we've come full circle
That in our village we now have not just a primary but even a secondary school
And the girls have dorms. The trees in the village commons keep things cool

A cast of high flyers who believed they were nigh invincible
Now have to abide, as it were, with the mosquito principle
Brought back to the ground to gather under trees of life
As ever, irony is the key register of African life


abutia tree in village commons

abutia secondary school girls dorm 2

mum inspects polytecnic

Putting up a Structure, a playlist


A soundtrack for this note. (spotify version)

This note is part of a series: In a covidious time

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Writing log: April 29, 2021

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Soul Insurance (Part 4 Pity the Mink)

Of red herrings and intermediate hosts... Part 4 of Soul Insurance (see previously)

IV. Pity the Mink


It was quite unexpected, the b-movie playing on the mammy wagon screen
Was a romantic comedy with Doris Day and Cary Grant, A Touch of Mink
Normally the claims adjuster would have preferred something out of Bollywood
But this escapist fare, even if dated, was a worthy offering from Hollywood

Even with no song and dance, there was what he liked, a lot of back and forth
Will she or won't she, much demure posturing, yet it confronted the real sport
But the title gave him an idea about how to write humanity's next chapter
By the time he was done with them, they'd all be caught up in the rapture

As the mammy wagon entered the gleaming environs of the Wan settlements
The claims adjuster beheld the history of a people once known to be reticent
In days of yore, their traditional attire was the very rich silk brocade
But they had since forsaken those rituals for the easy profits of the fur trade

Subjugated all their erstwhile beguiling craft for what they called capitalism
Production was all, their society was all about eminent domain and its enthrallment
No time for the small things, a distorted economics of whimsy was their prime belief
Well, before he was through with them, they'd be sure to relearn anew the laws of grief


Nyame's claims adjuster sculpture


As he started to gather a few tools of the trade, he started to consider the praxis
The subtle distinction between his kind of adjudication and angels dispensing justice
In his view, the angels had no autonomy and behaved, quite frankly, like rote zombies
Shock and awe was all, there was no skill, so to speak, to their angelic practice

It had to be said, angels were long reputed for bringing delight and wonder
On that basis, the tribes forgot the downside of when they were torn asunder
For they also alternately delivered affliction, a panoply of cluster headaches
Claims adjusters always gave humanity agency, and the chance to correct their mistakes

The bureau stressed that adjusting was a search for truth and dignity
True, a byproduct of the process was being able to determine liability
All training materials in the adjustment manual emphasized proper procedures
People, processes and things was the mantra of the social software teachers

In his guise as an agent, the claims adjuster was rather conventional
But depending on the audience, he could feign the angelic or become feral
Thus it was that he made to approach the leaders of the Wan, the inscrutables
Those party apparatchiks untethered from reality who thought their operations were noble

He gave them the three standard warnings, emphasizing the gravity of the situation
But they wanted proof (from the gods! really!), he thought he'd heard every prevarication
In this business, you heard all manner of excuses, but, here, there was no denial
Rather, they were going with the kind of argument that would be tossed at a trial

This adjudication was going to be quite a bit easier than he expected
If all the tribes would behave in the same fashion, as he rather suspected
The local dignitaries of Wan tribe were coming upon their Lunar New Year
Oh well, those thousand household banquets would be the start of the trail of tears

Hubris, it was as if they assumed they could treat him like a common lawyer
Rather than with the due respect of the gods' representative, the claims adjuster
It was fascinating to behold the huhudious machinations of these human schemers
Who forgot that, as the proverb went, the okro plant never gets taller than the farmer

In the wet market, he spotted something that could be of use as a red herring
A local trader was displaying his wares, touting the virtues of eating pangolin
But right next to that stall was what he was looking for, "This will do, I think"
The beast looked quite wretched, but all's fair in love and war, pity the mink


claims adjuster

Pity the Mink, a playlist


A soundtrack for this note (spotify)

Soul Insurance (Index)


A covidious folktale
  1. Ananse and the Chief's Scribe
  2. Enter the Claims Adjuster
  3. An Audience with the Linguist
  4. Pity the Mink
  5. Short Sale

This folktale is part of a series: In a covidious time.

Next: Short Sale

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Writing log: Part 4 March 24, 2021