Flowing River, Flowing Life
Flowing river is the best view on reflecting upon our life. I sat by the mouth of Kronkel River at the end of afternoon jogging almost every day. It would have been better without mosquito veil, but the mosquito bites were very disturbing. I covered my body from head to toe in any weather outside. Still many mosquitoes managed to suck my blood through the T-shirt.
I had lived in Pari for almost two years. I enjoyed the lifestyle of the hunter-gatherers. No alarm clock ringing in the morning. I just looked through the glass window; got up when the coconut trees were viewed clearly; fixed the mosquito net frames to the windows; and then waited for the Sister’s breakfast delivery—bread and coffee, I had my own peanut butter.
Having had cowboy shower and teeth brushing, I did a short and simple gymnastics inside the house—mosquitoes prevented me doing it outside. Then, I sat on the table facing the front window, contemplating. I had done, still do, it since the senior high school.
I start the hospital routine with visiting the inpatients and then the clinic. If less than 20 patients, I let the Sisters to take care of them, unless there were difficult diagnoses. I would do either the laboratory tests or gardening. Time passed quickly; the clinic closed around one o’clock.
One of the Sisters would bring me lunch. It was always the same: instant noodle soup, rice, fried fish, and water cress; the latter two disappeared during the monsoon season, from December to February. Nobody dared catch fish off shore; no watercress survived seawater flooded Bayun. If the weather was not too hot, the nap was blissful.
I would wake up when the Sun was at the top of coconut trees by the coast—viewed through my window. Fully covered with clothes, shoes and veil, I walked to and then ran along the beach to the Kronkel River. The most wonderful sea view was during the visit of migrating birds such as pelicans, great egrets, and many kinds of birds unknown to me. They could be hundreds of them foraging the shallow muddy sea floor.
It took me around half an hour to reach Kronkel. The best time came. I gazed at the flowing water, thinking about its molecules. They start the travel—born—from a spring up in the mountain, thousands of kilometer journey. The initial journey must be rough because of the steep landscape—childhood. They bump into rocky walls and cobblestones—life challenges. Some splash and dry out on either the rocks or river bank—premature death. Others continue to the lowland where they flow calmly–retired. Along the way, a number of molecules evaporate—normal death. The rest reach the sea, evaporate—death at old age—and return to the mountain to repeat the cycle: reincarnation? Where was I now?
I would finish my contract within three months. Should I extend it? I loved living in Pari, but having malaria every two months was too much. Although I could manage the disappointment with the ungrateful people, it was still hard to bear. I was just an ordinary man. There was a chance I would get a position with the US NAMRU in Jayapura; it was a research project; I had met some of its researchers in Oksibil before. I thought I would like it.
The Sun almost touched the horizon. The sky was brilliantly orange. It was so beautiful and serene; the river water splash and the twitter of flying birds adorned the solitude of the nature. I walked home in peace. Life is rhein . . . flowing.