Alemu was never introduced to me properly, I met a guy called Graeme who wouldn’t go anywhere until “the Ethiopian catches up”. Alemu turned out to be that Ethiopian. An Ethiopian who’d somehow got across Central America, relying entirely on the kindness of strangers, since he did not speak a word of Spanish. Quite a feat, considering. He conducted social research, asking people the most personal of questions, acting completely daft, to see how they would react. Questions that I didn’t really want to answer, and yet giving nothing of himself away. Was my reaction typical, Alemu? Frustrated intrigue?
‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.’
Basically, whatever decision I make is irrelevant because life just happens to me and there’s not a lot I can do about it. I planned to go to Nicaragua for two months, to study cross-cultural education in the different types of schools here.
In this plan, there is no mention of doing drama classes for 12 adolescent Clowns, convincing Venezuelen mavericks to let me cook everyone curry, or persuading aforementioned clowns that they aren’t really madly in love with us. But this is what’s happened.