Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Farewell to Luanda: A Song of Thanksgiving

I would come to miss
the great time we had in Luanda.
I would miss the music,
sunset on the Ilha,
dancing the kizomba...

I would miss the taste of zindungo
     (a hot, spicy sauce you put on everything).
I’d miss the smooth harshness
of freshly roasted Angolan coffee.
I’d miss the syrupy sweetness
of overripe pineapple
sold at inflated prices
by the women on the street
who swear it will last until tomorrow…
     (can I change some dollars for you, Senhor Administrador?)

I’d miss the soft bitterness of
gimboa fried with onions and olive oil...

More than anything else, though,
I’d miss the effusive enthusiasm
of the local staff,
their willingness to learn,
their dedication and commitment,
their loyalty.

Finally, while I didn’t fully
recognize it at the time,
I would certainly come to miss
the support DCM Jeff Hartley
and Ambassador Joe Sullivan
always extended to all of us.
Telephones didn’t work half the time.
There was no e-mail
to the Admin annex, Casa Inglesa.
But I could count on the support of
upper management in doing the work
I had to do.
I could take it to the bank.
The support I enjoyed
and took for granted in Luanda,
the collegiality we shared
is rare in this outfit,
I suppose,
and I am grateful
for having experienced it there.


  1. There are a lot of things to be thankful for Ray! Nice expression!

  2. Beautiful! Your poems are amazing. I can't wait to pour through your blog.