A Man and His Friends
Early one evening, while the chatters and cam watchers of Africam were staked out in front of their computers, a sweet sound came out of the speakers and filled the air around each one of them. The sound of the African singers...a sound that carries with it not only the timeless stories of Africa, but a new story as well.
In the chat room that accompanies the Nkhoro live streaming camera; there is a group of folks that have somehow managed to become a family. An interesting family composed of men and women, young and old. They come from all over the globe to spend some time listening to the sounds of Africa, waiting for the steps of animals, and to greet the folks that over time have become important to them.
What started out as a guarded and tentative room of Africam onlookers, slowly and steadily grew into what appeared to be a comfortable home where all are welcomed like long lost cousins. The room has changed over the months, as everything does, bringing in new names, while some have faded away. The layout of the chat has been interrupted and altered due to things beyond their control, but it didn’t faze this group that hung on to the relationships they had established, cherishing each other more and more as time went by.
And then they were shaken. The wife of one of the loyal chatters, was fighting a courageous but losing battle with the horrible disease of cancer. The man, the friend, had shared his sorrow as the day had neared, his anger and his fears, and the rest of the chatters did what any family does. They gave advice, needed or not. They listened with loving ears; spoke with guarded words, trying to reassure their friend that they would be there through whatever was going to happen. When the day came that brought their friend to a strange and scary place in his heart, his friends in the chat room became his rock, his strength.
The next day, an amazing thing happened in the chat room that perhaps will remain unexplained for all those that were there. The funeral arrangements were being made, the man was answering phone calls, trying to make himself get through the details of what society deems necessary when you are saying goodbye to someone you love. But this man, this friend, made sure he came into the chat room as often as he could...needing to read the words of his friends...his new family.
The day seemed long and tedious...folks never feel like they can do enough, say enough when someone they love is hurting. Africa’s night had moved in and the sounds of frogs and night birds had taken over the speakers. The tired friend had come back to the room...needing just a few more minutes of support, of encouragement...of love. And while all his friends held him up with their words, the sound that came across the speakers stopped all of them...the sound of the African singers filled the air. It wasn’t the sound that was usually heard...it wasn’t a far away sound of muffled voices, it wasn’t covered up by the sounds of night. It was as crystal clear as if the singers were standing right there by the waterhole.
The broken man listened and tears welled up. The sound touched his heart as if the songs were for him...for his wife that was now gone. The chat room became full of people with their emotions spilling out. Words of love and amazement were flying around the man as he sat back and realized that in spite of his pain, he could smile.
The singing subsided and the room sat in contemplation. Tears were dried, words gathered, and time once again began to flow. The man will go through the motions of saying goodbye to his wife, and the room will carry him through that time...because they are family, an odd mix of folks, but in every way as much a family as any other on this planet.
The chat room will continue to watch the cams, welcome new people and put their arms around each other. Perhaps the old adage that says “friends are the family you get to choose” has proved itself in this little room. It’s definitely a special place...one that continues to grow and change, just like any other family.
Take a listen...perhaps you will be as touched as the family and friends of this broken hearted man...