Stir It Up
Hanging and chatting with Mulenga Harangua
Published: August 15, 2012
"Well, Mulenga, there's plenty of bad stuff to argue about around here. Tell me what's good."
"I like that the millage to support the DIA passed in the election. I like going over there once in a while."
"Maybe this is the beginning of some real regional cooperation around here. If we can agree on the arts, maybe there are other things we can agree on. Did you vote for it?"
"Well I still don't have a legal address. That's another reason I was thinking about buying the place. I want to be able to vote for Obama. I want to show these folks pushing the voter ID laws that they can't disenfranchise me."
"Hmm ... anything else good?"
"Well, I like that President Obama seems to be putting some distance between himself and Romney in the polls. I know it's a long time until the election, but the bigger the gap the harder it will be for him to close it."
"Yep, that's pretty good."
"And these are good too." Mulenga pulled a few cherry tomatoes from a plant and handed them to me. I tossed one into my mouth. The tomato was warm, juicy and sweet. I closed my eyes and felt transported far away from the grit and hard times of the city."
I sighed. "You know, Mulenga, you seem to have changed a lot over the past couple of years. You're more settled and focused. I've never heard you talking about owning a house."
"Something about digging in the dirt and growing food seems to take you back home. I'm meeting my neighbors and have some control over my life. That feels good. I guess that's why people are fighting so much over Public Act 4. They want control over their lives and their city."
I tossed another tomato into my mouth and tasted the sweet juice drifting over my tongue. It was nearly as sweet as seeing my friend get himself together.
Larry Gabriel is a writer, musician and
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