David L White

Day’s not over yet

Djibouti

Mona Djibouti and Mike MKE

On the first leg Mike was the third out of three. He was all about his maladies. It’s tough to get people to move away from their most prized stories even when they hurt.

I simply gave him space to speak.

On a later ride alone, Mona still showed hope for the American Dream. Eighteen years here from East Africa and it is not hope, but reality. Although … early on when she was making only $5/hour she admitted to being happier. At the moment we met, her husband was laid up with a broken leg and her son had a flu thing  – and they were in Nashville. Her tenure in Milwaukee has only been 5 months. She lives with family in Chicago, commutes here or stays in a motel. And next month she heads back home – to Nashville.

On the random return route Mike and Mona were riders together. Mike was first in and droning on about how great it was back in the day. We picked up Mona and she could not get fit in to the conversation.

Soon I heard Mona on her phone speaking Djibouti – probably Somali or Afar – something with undertones of Asia tongue.

Shut up, Mike. Shut up. You may never have the chance to hear something so beautiful. Mike, sadly, did not shut up.

On my list of countries represented by people owning Toyotas, living in Milwaukee, coming through my building and sitting next to me: Djibouti is number 16 of all African nations. According to google there are 54 or 57 countries in Africa. I might have lost count at about 62 or 63 world nations.

Obviously, my driving days are not over yet.