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30.06.2019 Feature Article

The Underground Man - Part 21

The Underground Man  - Part 21

It was break time, early morning. As each day for the past few weeks Anna sat down next to Joshua and enjoyed her ice-cream. Both were surrounded by open small containers full of fresh picked apples ready for loading onto trucks to be exported around the world. It was very quiet up in the Golan Heights, a stretch of land occupied by Israel. Canadian UN Peacekeepers turned up every now and then patrolling the area ensuring not to fall into the many wide and deep trenches used by tanks to maneuver safely from mountain to mountain. Before reaching the plantation the bus carrying all volunteers assigned to pick apples had to pass a check-point mounted by Canadians before a chain was lowered to kame the bus pass.

As she was the tallest woman of all Anna had been chosen by Joshua to assist him. It was an easy job that gave her space to think about life´s matters and flow her boss for short time what he had gone through ion his life. This morning she had taken a letter with her from Monika Willers that she had read the day before. In it her mother referred to her new relationship with a man named Walter. Her longtime friend Anke had introduced the divorced man of five children working for the court are Sievekingsplatz to her. She seemed to be okay with him having plans to leave Alte Wöhr and move to the East of Hamburg very soon into a ground floor apartment in Rahewinkel. She was okay with the fact he was an Alcoholic and had a serious history behind him but it seemed that his life would be under his control again.

For her it always remained an open question why her mother had dumped an Iranian Historian, even his cultural behavior was sometimes hard for her to understand, but for all other boy-friends that were brought to her, that man at least was well educated and financially stable. Anna was constantly wondering that her mother never came to her senses and decided to take a long, a very long, time out to reconsider her attitude towards relationships with men, rather jumping again and again into the same format of destruction, of love affairs bound to fail and leave another scare on her memory. She swore to herself never to engage in such relationships and was most certain, divorce would never hit her.

While reading the words of her mother all over again that she had expressed in very simple ways and terms Anna was thinking about life in general. What about someone not able to play to blame game for its destiny on anyone or any circumstances someone finds himself in; rather realizing the need and possibility to be the master of someone´s own destiny. She had heard stories of very successful people of all walks of life that had started off in very poor conditions to be victorious at the later end of their lives. Anna was wondering as we are all humans whether such biographies are the privilege of a very few once or possible and open to all of us. If it would be a privilege what are the criteria’s set to achieve greatness for a particular person? What was in and about that new born baby to end well in life hearing in the maternity ward the crying of all other new born babies that do not end up well, some even in despair and behind bars.

“Come on…sweety…you always think too much!” woke Joshua her up knowing her mind was not with him. He offered her very sweet peppermint tea freshly brewed. “Life is not to think off…life is to live it!” He smiled and took Anna into his arms.

It was a quiet, peaceful Friday evening by the pool side. Shabbat was celebrated by the Kibbutz members, all members had retired to their houses. Kibbutz Ein Ziwan was a modern community, not like at the beginning when Theodor Hertzel had come up with his concept of Zionism claiming the Holy Land all for the Jews exclusively. Kibbutz as a life-style was a socialist idea as much as a form to take dominion over the chosen land. In Ginegar, the second oldest Kibbutz in the country on route from Afula to Haifa at the bottom of the city of Nazareth it had been the original tradition for parents to see their children after work only for a few hours otherwise knowing their life would be in the hands of caretakers in large homes. The areal was under fenced with bunkers. Sixty years down the line the original idea had changed, no longer accepted by young parents, parents the Kibbutz movement had depended on.

The water of the common swimming pool was still, medium warm as temperatures in the mountains at that time of the year were high. During day light after work, from two o`clock going, places around the pool were occupied by Kibbutz members and volunteers alike. As heat took their toll on everyone, work mostly started in the early morning hours before sun rise. Few work was done all day round on the farm and in the factory. TV was not needed up there in the mountains as so many opportunities arose to meet people and have serious, long and intensive conversations with foreigners from all across the globe or to explore the area around. But at nights most people avoided the pool area not feeling at ease. No one could ever be certain not to face unwanted intruders, be it animals or humans with bad minds.

Anna was never afraid of such considerations. Detlef from Dortmund was of the same character. Both would often meet and chat along. This side of their personality made them stand out among their peers. In many other aspects of all they were they were very different. She exposed to ships and water, Detlef to coal mines and steel production. Their family background also differed. He was raised by loving parents, especially his father would set much spare time aside to educate and entertain his son, while she was raised by a busy single working mother.

“So, than you came up with the crazy idea…the craziest idea I have ever come across”, laughed Anna hiding under the light blanket to keep flying insects away, “to pack your bags, get on your bile and ride…all the way to here.”

“That is how it was”, knotted Detlef while looking over to the dining hall of the Kibbutz were the last lights were turned off. “I had finished middle school, got my bike ready, a cassette recorder in my bags and a bit of pocket money for a few weeks.”

“So, you wanted to get away from home?”

“Oh no, not as you might think.”
What do you want me to think?”
Detlef laughed and looked her into the eyes: “I wanted to find freedom…I thought when I leave all my past behind, all that I was so accustomed to, the daily routine of schooling, my family matters, my friends, my ideas that were so much a part of me…this trip, away, away would make me find eventually my own freedom, my personal freedom.”

“You mean…” tried Anna to sort out her conflicting thoughts, “you mean freedom is out there somewhere?”

“Yes, as my brain is telling me where there is a captivity, a bondage of body, soul and mind…logically freedom must also exist…as everything in life comes in pairs, in opposites. Do you not agree?”

“Opposites are twins of the same kind that is for sure. In white the extreme human thinking and acting is simply not possible. Only in between darkness and light is where we can see the colours of the rainbow.”

“You are young but… . I have to compliment you for being bright…a slice of wisdom has touched your tongue.”

“Do you want to refer to the chocolate cake I was having for dinner tonight?”

“You make me laugh young girl of a special breed!” enjoyed Detlef the discussion with Anna more and more. “You truly enjoy life as I can hear!”

“Oh yeah”, turned Anna to him seeing moon light shining onto his face. “Enjoying life is not by taking to alcohol or cocaine and whatever drug there is available. Enjoying life is rather by correct mindset. Wasting precious life time sitting endless hours around barbeque fires with beer and whiskey exchanging words and idea all of the same sort over and over again that have no meaning…how stupid that is…not for me! As I always keep saying out loud again and again, in life it does not matter where you come from as long as you have set your mind on achieving greatness. Over time you are going to make it. When statistics talk about people from education distant groups, parents not much interested or exposed to higher education then it does not mean these children cannot make it in life and finish University. It all lies in a person itself to take responsibility of its own future and move on in life. Hard work is included as of course it will be harder for such people…but not impossible but in reach, especially these days with all the offers for further education available for small money and in easy reach. Background is not a sentence to stay stupid and ignorant. In fact, as I see it, such a fighting and struggling life helps us to stay vigilant and come out really great and victoriously above all the people that have stood above us before.”

…to be continued

Karl-Heinz Heerde
Karl-Heinz Heerde, © 2019

This author has authored 299 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KarlHeinzHeerde

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