In each installment of A Travel Story, I share a single photo that I’ve taken while traveling. I then write and record a short story that relates to that photo in some way to bring you into the moment leading up to, during, and after the photo was taken. The stories are simply meant to be glimpses into a longer, untold narrative.
The Story – Audio
I’d never been gifted a chicken before. It was a parting gift from the mother of the family that Kristina and I had just eaten lunch with. At that time, it was rare for Westerners to visit these parts, and not wanting to give those to come after us a bad name, we reluctantly accepted the bird and said our goodbyes.
The day before, we had arrived on Ukerewe Island. I was 18 and Kristina, a Swedish woman, was in her thirties. We’d come to explore this off-the-beaten-path island located near the southeastern shore of Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria. Upon arrival we met our tour guide, and at his request, proofread his tour brochure for correct english. He was the first tour guide on the island and we were his first clients.
After exploring the island and meeting a variety of locals (which included a stop for lunch with a local family), we arrived back at the guest house where we were staying in the late afternoon. Our guide took the chicken from the trunk of the car, handed it over to the home’s caretaker and we went inside.
The house was small and barren and looked like it was made entirely of concrete; it’s emptiness only magnified by the fact that Kristina and I were the only ones staying there.
I tried to take a nap but there were two cats fighting, I think to the death, outside my window. Unable to sleep, I got up and walked down the hall. At the end of the hall the sun shone through a red sheet which hung on a wire and acted as the door to the bathroom. I thought it was beautiful.
That night we had chicken for dinner. I didn’t ask if it was our chicken. I didn’t really want to know.