Some Congolese are protesting. To the White House. They direct their sentiments towards a building a few yards ahead of them. They wave their flag and shout at the top of their voices. They say that the US government put x in power, and so it must take x out and stop the ongoing genocide. A few reporters are here to capture the action. But this news is not in vogue. It won't make Primetime at 9.
Curious vanilla-skinned female bystanders try hard not to stare at the long lusty locs of the chocolate-skinned men.
I wonder if the building will respond. I wait. All I see is White pillars unshakeable, planted in rich and powerful American soil. I'm waiting for a glimpse of Black, African Obama. But all I see is his security detail, patrolling the roof, binoculars in hand.
In Kenya, we say we have a Kenyan in the White House. By all standards African, Obama is a member of the Luo tribe.
Washington D. C. is the power house of America. Quite literally. This building here is the Brazilian Embassy. That there is the headquarters of the World Bank. The Think Tank on the corner of 15th and L specializes on AIDs in Africa. The building just beyond that one is a research institute that works on global education.
In DC, there are no people. Just buildings-with-people. If you don't believe me, then watch this Intro to House of Cards.
The language around here is billion-dollar-speak. Consultants clad in Calvin Klein and Michael Kors talk about increasing access to water for the poor in Africa. Others yet, about increasing funding for Malaria research and girls' education in Bangladesh. Clean, smart, opinionated, Harvard-educated folks who bike to work, eat organic, have three dogs and hike on the weekends.
If I wait with bated breath for these buildings to infuse life and hope to Africa, I might suffocate.
But still somehow, my Congolese brothers and sisters wait.
And so my tour of DC began...
***Odes are voiced internal struggles of the diasporic African condition. In each ode, I capture aha-moments in which I have been bombarded by the realities of embodied African-ness as it gains meaning outside of the continent.
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