In the sixties, completing school was the most profitable thing to ever happen to a family and the individual himself since not many had gone to school. But for me, it went a step further and helped me find my lost rib.
In 1966 at the height of the space war between the Americans and the soviets, I was completing school, with flying colours at that.
At the same time the colonial regime in Africa was winding up its operations and many whites, sorry Europeans, wanted to come and see the ‘dark continent’ their governments had dominated for ages.
I have always been adventurous so I did not think twice when the opportunity to work as a tour guide for one tour company came knocking.
Note that this was against my parent’s wishes.
Being a bilingual helped me beat off the competition and fit well into Anglo- Franco bickering and of course as a sharpshooter, I was strategic to ‘guide’…yes, guide my female guests up into the Virunga and Karisimbi Mountains.
In the summer of 1968, there came this tall and blond Romanian- American tourist whom I Africanised in typical sharpshooter fashion, in a short time.
The moment we locked eyes, we both knew we were made for each other but the whole magic and action would work out gradually. Of the touring group, she became so close to me and I became so good to her in return.
“Shooter, Africa is beautiful and lovely,” she would tell me. “Kashrov, how about the people?” I would inquire with an eagle’s eye that spoke volumes. She would look straight at my apple and say, “Of course they are good.”
I was good at boat rafting and I always did so with her on Lake Kivu. When it got hot on the rafting expedition, I would remove my shirt for comfort. “Shooter, you got muscles and six pack like Hitler’s chief escort!” she would always compliment.
Hey, she was no Nazist!
I sang along with birds, songs she had never heard. I told her birds, plants, hills and people’s names and their meanings.
I carried her to dreamland with Africa’s history and her heroes, warriors and the victories they won. She would find herself falling asleep in my huge arms.
I convinced her to start sharing the sleeping tents with me since the volcanoes were always cold of which she whole heartedly agreed. Now, need I remind you that I am the Sharpshooter?