Sunday, November 6, 2016

On writing about CAMRAIL trains before Eseka happened

Deux semaines! Que petit Eseka est devenu tristement celebre. You'd been writing about a classic Rond point traffic jam monster and the train passes in the scene. Your friend reads it and starts evocations about his youthful days in Douala, when the train used to halt to transport people to different neighbourhoods. Your lawyer classmate reads the scene and tells you, describe the train some more, the type, colour, how it looks etc. Another reader classmate feeds you pics and googled info of all types of the CAMRAIL locomotives. When you just finish reworking the scene, last Friday happened. A few graphic pics of the dead sends you fleeing FB for one week. You can't stand the sight, you pray nobody tags you. You scratch your head and wonder if you should have even included the train in your traffic jam piece. You cannot imagine the pain the affected families are going through. You also try not to focus on the rubbish your country's authorities said on the media. Worst of all, you live in a Douala neighourhood where trains pass through to Ndokoti everyday. You now observe them pass with a weird feeling. You remember how Gabriel Garcia Marquez described the old locomotive in "One hundred years of Solitude...It's like a kitchen, pulling a village behind it". Ours mistakenly dropped its "village" into the village of Eseka and left it there.