In this kind of life I don't count hours of work.
I probably should. But I don't, because only sometimes I can tell the difference, like when I have to write reports or do tax, or access my netbank on a wobbly Internet connection.
I do count handsome men in kanzu smiling back.
Handsome men in suits. With razor blade sharp tongues. Nairobi is full.
I ount hours of sunlight.
When finding the perfect South African rose wine.
Bongo Flava musician encounters taking me to islands, and sailing me back over the Indian Ocean at night (and you know you really shouldn't). Stars exploding over our heads, above the waves of a dark sea. When we merge with the lights of the Dar es Salaam skyline. Where desire comes in abundance, only to be matched equally with mysteries unsolved.
When the long rain starts. The heavy, tropical showers, which resemble most of my love affairs around here: short and intensive. Making iron sheets fly. Rivers flow. Blood rush. Taste salt. (and you know you shouldn't have done it. But )
The days I walk from Mosque Street, to Libya, down Uhuru, back again, and over Morogoro to Zanaki. Through the waves of scent of freshly peeled oranges, newly cut madafu, squeezed sugar cane, and black coffee stirred with ginger powder.
I count the sensations of finding a kanga with a perfect saying and colour. I count the kilos of heavy loads of vitenge in explosive colours. I count the pages in my notebook with illustrations and ideas of all the things I need to create.
I count the friends. The real friends and our conversations which connect. Especially the times when they offer pockets of sanity. Understanding. Relief.
That I'm not alone.
I count the friends I haven't seen in forever, but where we continue from where we finished last.
The deep, fat, red soil in Kigoma.
The palm trees.
Salt or sweet.
The Muslim call to prayer.
I count all the times I didn't get malaria, amoeba or worse (inshallah).
People who read and like the stuff I write.
I count the days till I am going to South Sudan.
I count the days till I'm meeting with family and friends in Copenhagen.
I count the days till I return to Africa.