My first time in Africa

(Part 1 from 1)

I felt sad as we started the last week of the project. After breakfast, when Frank and Manuu had gone to the clinic, I got ready. I hurried to the new addition, and greeted Mr. Atati and his workers. I started out getting things together, and then giving the men what they requested. My now I knew most of the tools, and other supplies by there names.

Later in the morning, while getting some tools together, I knocked over a can of liquid. The liquid splashed all over the front of my shirt, and I heard one of the men yell at me to stand still. He told me to lean forward, so the shirt was away from my body. He came over with a pair of scissors and cut my shirt all the way in the back. The guy who was holding the front of my shirt away from my body, then pulled the shirt off. They had me wash my chest and stomach thoroughly with soap and water. Ansu then rubbed a salve all over my chest and stomach to prevent any chemical burn.

I told Mr. Atati I would be back after I got a clean shirt. He told me I was ok without the shirt, that I needed to let the salve stay on, that a shirt would rub it off. He laughed and said “the boy looks good that way”, and they all laughed. I continued to work, helping out wherever I could, trying to avoid any more accidents. At the end of the day, I helped load the trucks, and went home.

I told Frank what had happened, and that’s why I had no shirt and was covered with salve. The doctor had me go shower, then come back for him to examine me. I check out fine, he said the men knew what to do, and prevented any skin damage.


The next morning after breakfast, and after Frank and Manuu had gone to the clinic, I got dressed. As I stood there, in front of the mirror, l remembered what Mr. Atati had said the day before. When I had no shirt on, he had said the boy looks good that way. So I took my shirt off, and started flexing in front the mirror. I had to admit, I looked good, and this was due to my workouts at the fitness center and my love of swimming.

I left my shirt off and walked to the new addition. I explained my skin was tinder, and that was the reason I didn’t wear a shirt. Ansu looked at me and smiled real big, I don’t think he believed my excuse. Later at our lunch break, I realized for sure, Ansu hadn’t bought my excuse. He ask if I was trying to empress Mr. Atati. I noticed Mr. Atati looking in my direction, during the day, with a smile on his face.

At the end of the day we loaded the trucks, and the men started leaving. I went over and helped Mr. Atati load his truck, and tried to prolong my time with him. When he got in his truck, he looked back down at me, and said “boy no shirt tomorrow”. I didn’t wear a shirt the rest of the week.

On Friday we finished the project, and cleaned up all the mess. I followed Mr. Atati around as he inspected everything, and he would point out things he wanted me to explain to the doctor. I then went out and helped the workers get things packed away, and the trucks loaded. I gave Ansu and some of the other men, I had become friends with, hugs. I told them I hoped to see them around.

I then went in the building, and helped Mr. Atati get his things together. We then carried everything out, and loaded his truck. I thanked Mr. Atati for allowing me to be part of the project, and everything he had taught me. I felt like giving him a hug too, but I held back, due to his status. I stood there until he got in the truck, then I turned and walked away.

I herd him yell “boy not so fast”, so I turned around and walked back. He told me, he knew I admired and respected him. He then told me, he liked having me around, that I brought him pleasure when around. He told me he went to a private club on Saturday nights, for dinner with friends and clients. He ask me if I would accompany him Saturday night, that he would like to introduce me to his friends. I liked the idea of dinner with him, but was not sure about meeting his friends. But before I could really think about it, I heard myself say yes sir. He then told me, he would pick me up about seven Saturday night. I did think to ask him what I should wear. He laughed, and told me to wear what I normally wear. I could hear him laughing as he drove away.

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