An African Easter

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The first Easter I recall took place in Africa. I must have been 6 or so, my sister, Gaëlle about 4. A cute little “thing” with unruly golden locks and porcelain-blue eyes. And sometimes a pest of course in her older brother’s eyes. But that’s the way it goes between brothers and sisters. J

We were living in our magical house by the sea on the West African coast, in Conakry, former French Guinea. In the wake of Independence and under Sekou Touré’s incipient dictatorship (one of the most evil and destructive of African independence; Conakry is now sadly referred to as Conacrime) supplies were short and the stores empty. Food was flown in from Dakar every fortnight. (Perks of having an airline father) New toys were a rare, once a year Christmas wonder. And well-kept. Scarcity can make educational wonders. But what does one care when one is six years old and has the open African sea to play?

I don’t know how my father smuggled chocolate eggs into the country. Probably another airline perk. He and my mother hid the eggs on Easter morning in the house in Africa and its semi-wild garden. Our own private jungle.

For what seemed like hours – but then a child’s time frame is quite different – my sister and I searched for the eggs, wary of the many snakes and the neighbour’s malevolent and roaming baboon. I may later tell the story of my close encounter with the wretched animal, suffice it to say I have developed a great dislike of monkeys. 😦

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A distant relation of the “malevolent” baboon.

By the time we found the last chocolate egg, the African heat had melted it to something close to chocolate syrup. But that was the great adventure of the day.

My parents kept hiding Easter eggs for us in many subsequent countries, including Holland where chocolate eggs don’t melt! A compensation bonus for the weather. Then as children grow, and abandon some of the most interesting things in life in pursuit of other follies, the egg hiding paused.

My wife and I retook the tradition with our two daughters. In colder venues. No monkeys. But the magic was still there. Until it stopped again as the girls grew. As it should be. But it will be retaken with grandchildren. Some time this century.

There will be no post on Equinoxio next week as I am travelling to Colombia. (Will bring back pictures.)

In the meantime, don’t forget to hide chocolate eggs on Easter morning for your children, grandchildren, nephews, friends’ or neighbours’ kids, or kids on the street – they’re the most likely to appreciate! Takes only a minute. Or two. 🙂

Happy Easter, Joyeuses Pâques, Felices Pascuas to y’all!

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All set and ready to go for Easter egg hunting in the African jungle. I mean, garden.

 

Text and photos © BMO and Equinoxio

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37 thoughts on “An African Easter

    • Lived in Kenya from 13 to 17. Cousins of mine were born there. Still speak swahili (a bit) with ’em. When my uncle was africanized, they went to “Rhodesia” for a bit. They now live in Cape Town. Thanks for dropping by.

  1. You’re South American? I’m curious to know who does the Easter egg hunts because growing up in a Portuguese household I didn’t learn about that until I was maybe 10. Your story makes me want to hunt for chocolate eggs now haha

    • Sou Francès, nacido na India, críado na Africa, educado em Francia e Alabama! Casado com Colombiana, agora moramos no México! 🙂 Uma bagunça! (Bagonça?) I didn’t catch up on the “Soaresh” (Eu falo mais brazileiro!) Thanks for the visit and the follow. Bom final de semana!
      A T
      Brian
      PS. The chocolate eggs thing is a french/english maybe american tradition. If you have kids, it’s a must. any kids! Or just friends at an easter brunch. Great fun! 🙂

      • Oh-my-gosh entao tu falas, like, quatro linguas!!! I wish…I’m moving to Quebec, the French speaking Canadian province for a little in the summer in hopes that I can learn french.

        um dia eu vou fazer essa tradição com os meus filhos. parece brincadeira e fun. wow mexico! Eu só fui para visitar Playa del Carmen, Chichen Itza e Tulum. muito bonito. cuide-se!

      • Oi! (Falou mais) O dificil sao os primeiros tres ou cuatro. Depois, a gente encontra a palavra escondida. Por ezemplo nao falou rumano mais posso entender algumas palavras. Do the egg thing com os seus filhos. E muita brincadeira. Brincar em portugués tem o seu jeito, em espanhol e “saltar”. Sorte em Quebec. Gente boa! Bom fim!

    • Loved your Pak Chong post. Couldn’t find comments! DOn’t mess with Malaria! No. no. I had four bouts of the thing as in Africa. first one is fun. the others ever less so! 🙂
      Have a lovely, unique week-end! 🙂
      Brian

      • Thanks so much for reading that post. Comments aren’t easy to find on that theme. You need to click the little orange bubble that has a number in it. It’s near the share buttons at the bottom of the post, but on the right side. 4 bouts of malaria! You are superman!

      • Ha! Ha! Superboy rather. (See the picure in An African Easter, left of my sis). I later had malaria-like bouts of fever for years. Gone now! I’ll check the little orange bubble! 🙂
        Have a great week-end!
        Brian

  2. Oh Brian!!! I love it!!! You both seems to be the happiest of the children!!! What a wonderful experience your life!!! I wonder if it was difficult to settle down…Still in Mexico?
    Supongo que entiendes rumano porque es muy similar al español…(y lo mismo pasará con el italiano! 🙂 )
    Que tengas un buen fin de semana!
    Abrazos desde España!

    • Thank you. This post was really flash writing to post something before I went travelling. Just had the memories and a couple of pictures. Growing up in Africa was indeed lovely and happy! I would close my adventure book, and there was more adventure in the garden/jungle outside!
      Still in Mexico.
      Rumanian beats me a bit. Parlo italiano. un po! Falo portugues, y entiendo algunas palabras en rumano. “Raspons”: réponse, respuesta. Veritate? Tengo que meterme mas. 🙂
      Besos y abrazos desde Tenochtitlán!
      🙂
      Bonita semana
      Brian

      • Un gran abrazo desde León, España!!!
        Today has been a terrible day here: a politician has been murdered on the Street…Three bullets…The reason: the daughter was fired yesterday from her work..I think it is terrible…I thought this was a safe city (I am Basque, you know, we had terrible moments no so far along…)

      • Lamentable. Y tienes razón, el País Vasco ha pasado por cosas terribles. Lo siento mucho. Yo no sé cuando la raza humana va aprender… 😦

  3. Africa is a place where I will love to spend a couple of years if it becomes a little more safe, or if I can locate a place that is safe and is in the middle of wilderness 🙂

    • Kenya is all right. Still plenty of wilderness left. Lived there (long time ago) between the age of 13 and 16. Lovely place (see “Maasai warriors”). And it is fairly safe. My two daughters went there a couple of years ago. Came back enchanted! 🙂

      • There were no lions left in Guinea at that time and very few elephants.
        I did see many of both later on in Kenya and tanzania.
        I’ll grab a few pix to post.
        Have a lovely week!
        Brian

  4. What a wonderful story, your life must have been amazing, growing up in different places all over the world. No chocolate eggs for me today, but organic dark chocolate covered almonds….they look like eggs so that counts….can’t hide them as can’t chance the pups finding and eating them. Mean baboons huh? I think there’s so,etching strange but primal about monkeys….kind of like clowns, something about them I just don’t trust…..safe travels, leave prints and bring back pics and stories.
    Peace and love,
    Kim

  5. You will be happy to know that my mother still hides eggs for us despite the fact we are no longer close to being kids. Her logic? I will hide eggs and easter baskets for you kids until the day I am dead so just deal with it. how can I argue with Mom?

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