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Stella Gaitano Translated into English By Asha El-Said

12-02-2015, 02:04 PM
عائشة موسي السعيد
<aعائشة موسي السعيد
Registered: 07-10-2010
Total Posts: 1613

مكتبة الفساد

من اقوالهم






Stella Gaitano Translated into English By Asha El-Said

    01:04 PM Dec, 02 2015

    Sudanese Online
    عائشة موسي السعيد-KHARTOUM NORTH
    My Library
    Short URL

    Home Coming
    Short Stories
    BY
    Stella Gaitano
    Translated by
    Asha Musa El-Said
    Published By:
    Rafiki for Printing and Publishing
    ***************

    I enjoyed the exercise.
    I hope people enjoy the reading.
    And comment on the translation.
    Not yet in the market; but will soon be.
                  

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12-02-2015, 08:44 PM
عائشة موسي السعيد
<aعائشة موسي السعيد
Registered: 07-10-2010
Total Posts: 1613






Re: Stella Gaitano Translated into English By Asha El-Said (Re: عائشة موسي السعيد)

    * As a taster, these are two paragraph that I 'sneaked' from one of the stories.
    I really liked the way Stella used folktale as a shield to hide her message!
    asha.

    The Complete ... Half of a Corpse

    Once upon an ancient time, the time of the silence of sons, there were two women who fought over the motherhood of a child. Each woman claimed he was her son. The judge was perplexed over the matter and the insistence of each woman that the child was hers. But justice was his habitude and he abhorred injustice. So resorting to wisdom and insight he ordered that the child be divided to two halves and each woman took her half. The first woman agreed, but the second one was flabbergasted and refused the idea that the child’s limbs be cut into two! She agreed that the first woman took him. The judge immediately knew she is the real mother as she preferred the loss of her son to another woman to the loss of his life. He said, ‘’it is true that a mother’s heart is on her son,’’ and he ordered the son to be given to her. Justice was on her side.
    Once upon a contemporary time, the time of the silence of mothers, there were two sons who fought over a mother. Each one claimed that she is his mother. The judge was perplexed over the matter and the insistence of each of the two that she was his mother despite the differences between them. The first one seemed to possess alone everything and so he looked contented. The second one looked poor and signs of deprivation were clear on him. Still each one continued to insist that the woman was his mother. As justice was his habitude, and he abhorred injustice, the judge followed the same old wisdom and insight that saved him once upon a time depending blindly on transparency of the Truth.
    He smiled to himself as he declared that the mother should be dissected into two between them. The sentence was in procession, the judge ordered the swordsman to cut the woman in two and one would take the upper half and the other the lower half. They both cried in disagreement that none would take an incomplete half. The contented one said, ‘’take the lower half. It has the legs and you are a wanderer roaming around. It suits you.’’ The deprived son responded: ‘No, I will not let you take possession of everything, I will take the upper half as I have never benefited from her mind, heart and warmth, so you take the lower half! The argument became fierce and was leading to a real fight. The judge became more perplexed and embarrassed as he never before failed to administer wisdom and insight. It is true the heart of a son is stone.
    He ordered the sentence to be postponed until the sons quieten a little and he counselled with wisdom and insight. Insight said in advice, ‘’divide her into two longitudinally.’’ Wisdom added, ‘’absolutely right, this way no injustice is done to either as each one will take a whole half of the corpse!’’ The judge liked the idea which he thought would acquit his conscience. He didn’t realize that wisdom and insight have their place and time. He ordered that the mother is dissected into two equal longitudinal halves. The sons couldn’t see any reason to disagree so they agreed to the sentence. The contented one was indifferent as his spoilt self revealed. The deprived was in a dilemma as revealed by his anger! The sentence was carried out; the sword was moving to and from cutting the mother into two equal longitudinal parts: half a heart and a heart, half joy and melancholy... half a laugh and a smile... half tears and sweat... half warmth and passion... half flesh and blood... half intestines and bone... half a womb and motherhood...half a mother and ... half a Nation...and....half... and... half... and... But, he was standing there alone. Pain in complete physical presence, standing between the two halves of a corpse!



                  

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12-07-2015, 11:25 AM
عائشة موسي السعيد
<aعائشة موسي السعيد
Registered: 07-10-2010
Total Posts: 1613






Re: Stella Gaitano Translated into English By Asha El-Said (Re: عائشة موسي السعيد)

    An excerpt from Stella Gaitano’s: Homecoming

    Translator: Asha Musa

    When the war started, I quickly packed my belongings and returned to Khartoum. I kept calling my friends from the day I arrived but there was no response from the other side. I got worried about them and thought of fear and death. I suddenly remembered my Ugandan neighbour; I called him and waited optimistically as I heard the ringing. Then his voice came to me, adding pleasure to my optimism:
    Hello; who is that؟
    Sibo, I am Albino your neighbour.
    Oooooh, Albino; how are you friend؟ Are you still in Khartoum؟
    We finished greetings and I asked him about the rich mango tree friends, one by one. He said,
    ‘’Anglo returned to East Africa; Peter returned to the Bush and you returned to Khartoum.’’
    I asked, ‘’and you؟’’
    He said, ‘’I am staying put and the business is good!’’
    He continued telling me that he left the pedicure job to food vending. He sold light foods like chapatti, with hot omelette. I suddenly felt raged with anger as I thought of this Ugandan being more attached to my country than myself. Here I am, searching for a home to shelter and feed me! When his voice came to me inquiring when I would be back, I found myself answering confidently, ‘now... now!’
    True enough, I went back but with new ideas and a new spirit. I found Suzy still selling flavoured tea to brokers, and new idlers. The tree was still where I left it heavy with fruit and shade!
    As to me, I wrapped up my trousers, carried a bucket and a cloth and started washing cars parked here and there and getting as wet as a happy duck! I would foam the cloth with soap and blow it to play with the rainbow coloured bubbles like a child. I polish the glass and look at my reflection in the polished sides of the car. I, proudly, observe my pepper-like hair under the tender sun rays and pregnant clouds that announce the approaching autumn. My sweating feet would be planted in the mud so firmly, just like the roots of the rich mango tree....and I would be longing for the return of my friends.

                  

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12-16-2015, 07:09 PM
عائشة موسي السعيد
<aعائشة موسي السعيد
Registered: 07-10-2010
Total Posts: 1613






Re: Stella Gaitano Translated into English By Asha El-Said (Re: عائشة موسي السعيد)

    5 *
    A Lake the Size of a Papaya Fruit

































































    From Stella Gaitano's Short Story:
    A Lake the Size of a Papaya Fruit
    Translated into English by:
    Asha Musa

    Everything about her, reminded me of the erect Papaya tree in a very spacious house courtyard. She was tall, stout, and firm in spite of the creeping senility.
    My grandmother didn’t carry any signs of beauty. I saw her as ugly as a Gorilla with her thick lips and big head that could do as a comfortable stool if needed! She decorated her lower lip with a big hole filled with a piece of wood coined for the purpose. When she removed the lip ornament, saliva leaked through the hole. The most significant ugly detail on her face was her pug nose. When she heard people commenting on her pug nose she used to say indifferently,
    ‘’it is enough that I can breathe through it.’’
    I used to see the sky through the hole in her earlobe and there was a third hole in her pug nose too. A large part of her gum in the lower jaw showed through the space left by four extracted teeth. Her eyes were red and crouched over by swollen eyelids.
    What I admired about my grandmother was her great resilience to pain! She once went to defecate in the open and came back scratching her heel which was beginning to swell. She didn’t show any signs of pain. When I asked innocently what the matter was she calmly answered: “seems I’m bit by a snake!” She took a knife and cut through her skin to the vein where the sting was. It was like she was doing it to someone else and the knife was cutting grooves on another person’s body. I felt dizzy when I saw black blood oozing from the wounds, making a pool the colour of blood and venom. She took a black antitoxic stone and crushed it before stuffing the incision she made on her skin with the small pebbles cruelly. She didn’t even wince as the stones were known to have a burning effect on wounds. She suddenly looked at me and I shrunk more in my fear. I started frantically looking for excuses to move further and further away from her as I knew her way of thinking. Whenever she took any medicine she would make me take it with her for fear of infection. But I couldn’t escape from her iron fist that clamped me down by the wrist. She made two cuts with her knife at the back of my hands and feet so quickly that I didn’t even have a chance to cry! I felt the pain crawling into me as the blood started dropping from the eight cuts she made. She then took the antidote and robbed it as harshly as if she meant the fragmented stones to get right into my veins. She said as she was continuing her cruel act on me with her voice that is unlike other women’s voices, ‘’this way those moving ropes will never sting you. If they see you they will not dare move until go away.’’
    That was her traditional metaphysical belief used as prevention against snakes and other types of venom. Sure enough, since that day neither of us got stung by a snake even though they moved everywhere in our large courtyard which was full of trees and vegetables and in the centre stood the Papaya tree with its several large breasts.
                  

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12-25-2015, 08:50 AM
عائشة موسي السعيد
<aعائشة موسي السعيد
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Total Posts: 1613






Re: Stella Gaitano Translated into English By Asha El-Said (Re: عائشة موسي السعيد)

    From: Mother....I am frightened!
    By Stella Gaitano
    Translator: Asha Musa

    Night dropped.
    It was a deep dark quiet night except for a gunshot shattering the depth of the night from time to time and the dogs’ barking more like gloomy howling causing a mixture of melancholy and pessimism and driving away every feeling of peace and comfort. It was as if evil spirits were roaming the place seeking revenge!
    The children got to bed. She hanged up the mosquito nets to protect them from mosquitoes, night insects, and huge rats running around the conic ceiling in search for food. She brought inside the sole chair, the mat, and the night potty. She then slipped in the middle of her children with a quivering heart fearing the night burglars and the random bullets, after closing the cheap zinc and wood door, which was decaying because of the moss and humidity. In the past, she would sleep fearless as she simply had nothing to fear losing or being targeted. But that night was different! There was almost a fortune in that iron trunk in her room. She waited impatiently for dawn.
    She turned off her hand light and kept watching a firefly like a star twinkling here and there looking for a way out. It was the only source of light in the dimmed room. Eventually, she fell half asleep with one eye closed and the other open while listening to the rumbling of generators, the roar of drunkards, the shrieks of a woman severely beaten, and the crying of a nervous child suffering some form of deprivation.
    At midnight or little before, she heard heavy footsteps outside and they were approaching nearer and nearer and nearer. She dismissed fear and bad expectations and told herself ‘it is only the passers-by.’ Her heart palpitated strongly when she heard low knocks on the zinc door. She crept out from the middle of her children and approached the door gently trying to listen. She could hear people whispering in a language her ears were not used to. Now they knocked louder waking up the children frightened and crying. The equally scared mother hugged them close trying to quieten them but the knocking continued aggressively and with more determination. Then suddenly one of them said, ‘’Open up or I will shoot at you and your kids through the door.’’
    Her heart beats went faster and it sprang from her chest; she thought she could feel it in her throat. She called with fear and anger which came out as crying and shaking, ‘’what do you want؟’’
    He said, ‘’Open and you know.’’
    She said, ‘’No.’’
    Suddenly a shot echoed near the door. She now shouted louder and her children cried with the horror of someone who witnessed killing before and knew it! She continued crying calling the neighbours. But no rescuers came.
    No one would come out when they hear shooting. It is less tragic to lose a widow and her kids, than to lose a whole clan. It had been seen before that these night owls do not hesitate to kill all those who approach them.
    So, with the knowledge of one who is specialized in wartime tactics, she laid down her kids on the floor ordering them not to move no matter what happened. She then crawled to the door, opened it and went out alone. She hit against them as they were close to the door and one of them blinded her with his hand light. They were masses of people all dressed in black as if they were night itself. They were pointing their fire arms at her while she was carrying nothing to draw at their faces except her ready motherhood to protect her children to the last breath.
    One of them took her by the neck asking her knowingly about the money or they would enter and exterminate the children. She said, ‘’I’ll give you the money; just don’t frighten my kids.’’ One of them answered, ‘’we won’t frighten them, but will kill them if you don’t bring the money.’’
    He said this and pushed her inside!
    She entered; and went straight to the trunk, carried it and brought it outside crying silently as if she was carrying her missed husband’s corpse. Her heart was burning with wrath; she would have torn the bastards with her teeth if she could, or if she had a weapon to defend herself and her kids. There was no help, although she and her children shouted until they went hoarse. A bullet resonated inside her home but no one cared; no neighbours came, nor did the Police! They forced the bag and finally broke it open.
    He took out all her husband’s harvest of the years; harvest of his soul, blood and sweat! The price of their yearning, deprivation, future and they went away with it unconcerned with her tears and her kids’ crying, as if they were not humans.
    She embraced the shaking frightened children as she herself was shaking with anger. She felt the Earth giving way under her feet when she heard the youngest girl saying, ‘’Mother, I’m very frightened.’’
    She left everything as it was. In the morning when the neighbours came seeking the news, just being curious, she didn’t pay them any attention. She didn’t even answer their questions. She had her own grief, her own wound, her anger towards all with no exception for the cowardice they staged when she needed them.
    She was thinking of ways to raise money quickly; even if she has to sell herself. She does not want it for her children schools or for the monthly house provisions or to buy a Boda* but to buy a gun ...only a gun to defend herself and her children in a city dark and oppressive.



    Juba, May 2015
                  

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12-30-2015, 10:25 AM
عائشة موسي السعيد
<aعائشة موسي السعيد
Registered: 07-10-2010
Total Posts: 1613






Re: Stella Gaitano Translated into English By Asha El-Said (Re: عائشة موسي السعيد)

    The introduction for Stella's 2nd collection is written by Ustaz Kamal Gizouli.
    It was one of the instances that I felt inadequate translating such 'grand' Arabic!
    I resorted to my stock of rhetoric, poetic, political and all...of the rich Arabic
    Language to be able to coin equivalents in English.
    Hence I apologize for any 'damage' I caused to Gizouli's original script. (Asha).
    ***

    Preface
    Stella, A brilliant voice of the shocking Literature of the War
    By: Kamal Al Gizouli
    I cannot claim that this is a proficient critique of the Second Collection of South-Sudanese writer, Stella Gaitano. If anyone should attempt a grand critique to compromise between creative text and relevant literary methodology and stylistics as way-in to psychological, sociological, linguistic, and perhaps, as solution to problems of the relationship between the language of Literature and Criticism, they should find their way to journals, magazines, debates and other similar platforms. Specialized Radio and TV programmes may also be more suitable than an entrance to a small house hidden by the branches of mango and papaya trees.
    Stella gave me the honour to welcome her Readers and I promise not to touch on any ‘complicated ‘concepts. I also apologize for tapping lightly, but I hope informatively, on the whole Collection which is my contribution to celebrating it.
    The writer devoted her First Collection, (Wilting Flowers: Zuhur Zabila), published 2004 by Azza, Khartoum, for her creative models of Literature of the War to the narrating of Short Story following the example of the Shed Blood Heritage that had been dominant during the 40 years struggle between Southern and Northern Sudan.
    This Second Collection is about the aftermath of Separation/Independence of South Sudan. In the newly formed African Country, the bombarding of the ‘’Social Affairs’’ is marked much louder than the silent guns of the era of ‘’National Affairs’’ between the two sides of a Country now ripped into two Countries.
    The term ‘Literature of the War’ has many interpretations. It does not necessarily reflect a view concerning the martial experience of armies and simplicity apparent in describing processes of assault and retreat in varied styles of Poetry or Prose which are mere reflections of military gazettes.
    We refer here to a dimension further than monism and simplicity that cannot be reached except by delving into the military experience with all its elements of stress and conformity dormant in the human spirit of confrontation and résistance when faced with what threatens his existence. This spirit is magnified in the dialectic confrontation between the desire to live and the readiness to die for a cause. It resembles the incompatibility between this eminent cause and the gloomy reality of corruption and favouritism left sometimes behind a militant in spite of his sacrifice when infidelity changes revolutionists’ skins and the tables turn over. This is Stella’s core theme!
    Stella also dwells on more complications that cannot be solved by a writer without living the People’s experiences, visions, thoughts, feelings and emotions of the war. She went further to the consequences of the war and what it does to the lowest classes of the society. This community that remains hopeful after the war with no real hope of regaining a drop of what is lost or what they suffered.
    A third dimension of the term which goes even deeper in meaning is when the writer, in this case Stella, succeeds in personalizing the war. She reflects what goes on in her characters’ minds: their fears and dreams, their sorrow and joy, their ups and downs and their concept of what is within themselves and everything around them.
    Hence, in spite of horrors of the war, this Literature becomes a communal necessity that is difficult to be disposed of. The fact that the literary work is the creation of an’ individual’ does not mean that it addresses a ‘special’ group. It refers more to the writer’s personal experience of the war and his or her ability to assimilate and later ruminate it offering the reader with pleasure and guidance.
    Stella has chosen Narrative as her style in general and Short Story in particular. She drew her aesthetic and cultural vision from a rationalized view between Short Story and Folk Tale and Conundrum as an ancient art of the nations specially Africans represented by people of South Sudan to whom Stella relates.
    Yamani Saeed defines Short Story as, ‘short lingual band’, in which case Stella has to realize the different techniques and intellectual influences of her historical, Eco-political and Socio-cultural sources.
    In doing this, Stella magnifies two historical realities in her life. The first is her birth and early life in the Northern Sudan. The Christian child of a Southern origin, born, brought up and educated to University level in an Islamic Arabic speaking environment. Clearly affected by the Northern Sudan culture, she chose Arabic Language as her medium of Creative Writing. She states that doing this, she secures a wider readership. She didn’t adopt Latuka like the Kenyan Narrator, Njoki Wathiang, who risked quitting English writing to use his Mother Tongue, Kikuyu Language. But lately he reversed to English as in spite of the large Kikuyu community in Kenya, he felt limited.
    This is a problem that beats the fair political ideology of giving local and other Afro-Sudanese Languages a chance to survive.
    However, no obstacle succeeded in hindering this young writer’s empathy with millions of her kin facing the same situation. They were all forced to displace to the relatively richer Northern Sudan driven by the war which had been glazing since 1955 in the poorer Southern Sudan. They lived in the ghettos of towns in areas gnawed by poverty and hard toil. They did all kinds of jobs suffering the humility of being under rated and abused, ethnically, religiously, culturally and linguistically. At the end of the day they consume what remains of their energy in sex, gambling, beating wives and kids, watching obscene films, drinking cheap wine and entering into endless bloody fights for one of the above reasons and end up in one of the custody cells and perhaps prisons.
    The second historical reality of her life was the prophesied result of the 2011 Southerners’ Elections that sided Separation with a majority of 98%. The following consequences caused Stella to emit her stand with this Collection and two widely read articles written in a hybrid Arabic between classic (fusha) Arabic and Sudanese colloquial Arabic The articles entitled: ‘Before I became a foreigner’, and ‘After I became a foreigner’. She also presented a paper as a guest of honour to Tayeb Salih International Award prize giving celebration run annually by Zain Communication Company. She stated in her address that she still suffers mentally and emotionally from the faltering enthusiasm for Independence as a shooting platform towards the building of a grand healthy Home Land that becomes a cradle for early memories of childhood and youth with all their joy and pains. Her least expectation is to ensure an Independence that is capable of fulfilling the patient hopes for Social Justice, or else, Independence is just a synonym of Separation.
    Stella’s views rate her very high as supporter of National Independence and Social Justice in the face of destructive mattocks of corruption and injustice. Her word is a weapon ready to silence whoever fiddles with the Rights of her People.
    These same qualities are Stella’s gate to the radical National and Social transformation of her Country.
    Dear Reader,
    Welcome.....
    K. Al Gizouli
    Shambat/Hijra
    November 2014





                  

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01-03-2016, 02:43 PM
عائشة موسي السعيد
<aعائشة موسي السعيد
Registered: 07-10-2010
Total Posts: 1613






Re: Stella Gaitano Translated into English By Asha El-Said (Re: عائشة موسي السعيد)

    Stella Gaitano's: I kill myself.....and Rejoice!
    Translated by: Asha Musa

    The first page of Stella's story: I kill myself....and rejoice!


    Vultures hovering around the sky like a flock of flying moustaches. The sky is far away, blue, sunny and scorching. And I am choked swallowing my tears, filled with the terror looming around me. But my heart doesn’t beat... maybe I am dead, or pretending to be dead.
    I, or to be exact, my corpse is dumped among other corpses...I say other corpses as if I don’t know them. Of course I know them; I know each one of them. This is my brother, and my sister with her baby who didn’t finish breast feeding. This is my troublesome blind father, and that is our religious neighbour in an eternal prostration bow carrying a blood stained Bible and that is the friend with whom I quarrelled yesterday over a glass of rotten wine. This is the Ethiopian merchant, owner of the shabby tavern down the road where we buy cheap wines: (tasker)*, (Nile special)*, and (seven nights)* and we spend a good time. Look at him now! Thrown in dereliction with a look of horror drawn on his swollen face; he would have been more handsome had he been a bit fatter as he looks now. We have all been dumped here in neglect for weeks, in this funny posture that shows no dignity or respect for death.
    Stop. I am not sad. May be I really died! Why doesn’t my heart beat or feel sad؟! May be I have to take things more seriously. I am truly dead!
    All that I remember is that they came in numbers, carrying all kinds of canons, machine guns, bombers, and hand grenades. Some were infantry soldiers and others in carriages. They looked like us. In fact I thought I saw them with my own eyes that are being eaten by worms now. I saw myself leading an army; we were the army, the killers and the victims at the same time. I thought it was probably phantoms of drunkenness throwing me into a parallel world.
    Let me finish the story:
                  

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02-19-2016, 11:19 PM
عائشة موسي السعيد
<aعائشة موسي السعيد
Registered: 07-10-2010
Total Posts: 1613






Re: Stella Gaitano Translated into English By Asha El-Said (Re: عائشة موسي السعيد)


    6 - Kosti
    Stella Gaitano
    Translated by: Asha Musa

    Teresa is dead worried; fear and pain occupy her heart. She has suddenly become a foreigner from a different country. The insecurity of being in the middle of this electrified atmosphere laden by grief, anger, and joy is filling her. The Country is now divided into two. Announcements of residence and medical services closures are everywhere. Public harassment and abuse are noticeable in the streets; some asking them to depart, others begging them to stay! Emotional pressures from all sides. They made the decision to return to the South.
    It was as if worry and fear were a poison intoxicating her body! Even the foetus she was carrying in her womb increased its kicking from all this tension. It kicked like a donkey or crumbled like a wave in her side or else it would plant a foot in her thigh like an arrow disabling her movements with weight and pain.
    They sold their house cheaply and bought more furniture, a generator, bags, sacks, and boxes to pack their belongings. Teresa reupholstered the mattresses and hired a blacksmith to mend the broken beds and tables. The neighbours helped her to pack the clothes and utensils. In a few days all their belongings were shrouded in sacks!
    A huge truck shrieked at the gate signalling departure. Teresa’s heart pounded and her feet went limp. The neighbours wailed while she moved around moaning and helping the kids collect their things and tidy them up. Young men in the neighbourhood carried the luggage one by one as if they were carrying corpses to their graves. Hearts burnt!
    She took the last farewells from her neighbours silently and left them in the now desolate house that no longer resembled her home. This is the house that witnessed the births of all her children, saw their first steps as toddlers, and heard them uttering their first words. This is the house that knew exactly where each baby’s naval and baby teeth were buried. It saw all their happy and some of their sad events. It sheltered them at the time of poverty and hunger. It was loyal to their familial affairs. A house so intimate like a lot of homes: two rooms and two verandas criss-crossing, a kitchen in one corner open to a Rakooba (an overhead bower-hut of hey and straws) that looked like a hat. Under the rakooba perched two dewy brick coloured water casks with large drop-plates under them for the chicken, cat, and migrating birds to drink.
    Teresa’s rakooba witnessed a lot of coffee gatherings, gossiping, and share distributing from the small group’s savings fund. The courtyard is spread with red sand and decorated with colourful plants like cactus and a bougainvillea near the door peeping secretly at the street like a shy adolescent girl. The ivy (lablab) is wounding up the wooden staffs covering the rakooba with green leaves and dreamy violet flowers.
                  

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03-24-2016, 08:43 AM
عائشة موسي السعيد
<aعائشة موسي السعيد
Registered: 07-10-2010
Total Posts: 1613






Re: Stella Gaitano Translated into English By Asha El-Said (Re: عائشة موسي السعيد)

    Extracted from:
    Running Away from the Salary
    By: Stella Gaitano

    Translated by: Asha El Said



    ............................envelope arrived at the end of the month I felt
    114
    nauseated. My uncle’s smile and gold ornamented fingers became a sign of burning to me. I fell into an acute state of depression and stopped going to work. But the salary came absolutely regularly; enveloped in a sarcastic yellow smile! When I learnt that most Government Organizations were run that way, I felt great disappointment. I raged with anger and waited for a catastrophic happening... but nothing happened! Eventually, I quit my uncle’s Organization. I resigned. I established a small enterprise with some friends; we offered consultations in many different fields. We also imported electronic appliances. It was a pleasant shock absorbent and a vent for my physical and mental energy. What disrupted my serenity was the arrival of the envelope! It would reach me where ever I went. I find it on my desk, in my car, under my pillow.... I would throw it at their faces, or give it to the poor. I even flushed it down the toilet once, but to no effect. All of this, however, didn’t affect me as conversations with friends about corruption! I would deflate like a wild flower and become irritable to the point of losing control of my anger and wretchedness because of that salary. In the end, here I am carrying my black rucksack, my Alternate Home National Passport, and a decision to abandon my Home Land, my people, and my salary!
    115
    I went roaming in the streets for a goodbye. Something unusual stopped me as I was passing one of the mountainous curves. I saw a group of dusty women banding their waists and heads with dampened pieces of coloured cloth. They were breaking the mountain rocks into small pieces to be used for building. They sell this strenuous toil very cheaply to feed their children! I approached one and asked her how much was a sack-full؟ She answered with great pleasure, ‘’thirty pounds and if you take more we reduce the price.’’ I learnt that to fill a sack she needed two to three days of torturous work. I also learnt that most of them were widows of soldiers killed in the war or poor wretched penniless abandoned by their husbands in homes filled with deprived children. I took out the yellowish envelope and distributed the salary between them. I bought all the fragmented and whole sack-full of rocks. I did not take them; but like he who catches a fish and returns it to the sea; I returned the rocks to the mountains. The air was heavy with the dust from the rock breaking process, or the tyres of cars that speed by on sandy roads. A lot of the dust hung to my hair and eyelashes like a halo of light. The women circled around me and I knelt in the middle filled with joy. Then they streamed like water towards
    116
    their homes. Their reverberating laughs soothed the anger in my heart until it vanished like smoke into the horizon. I sat alone in the middle of the rocks like a repelled monk scrutinising my city from above... What a beautiful sight! I could see the houses scattered around, with their slanting roofs reflecting the light here and there like mirrors thrown by playful kids. The rich green leaves, the laughter of the happy women for receiving a few pounds. All that awakened something inside me that whispered in my ear to be as solid as the erect mountain behind me. The sun crowns me every morning and the rain washes my sorrow. I pulled out the Alternate Home Land Passport and put it on the rock where I sat. I left it there to the wind blowing open its pages. I turned my back and flowed like water towards my city, careful not to spill over, and sticking to the leaves and slanted roofs and beautiful girls’ hair plaits.
                  

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