Thursday, June 19, 2008
I soon began cribbing to a fellow passenger. Misery loves company. I soon settled with being bored and looking at the pictures I had taken of my exploits before my arrival. All I was hoping for was a distraction, and it soon came in the form of a large man, who I've since tried to contact many times, but have been quite unsuccessful. We got chatting; but after a while, I could only remain silent. That was one of the few times in my life I can remember listening without saying a word.
RSK was a millionare, and that was past tense even when I met him. He was a prisoner, now free and on his way to his home country. As he went on, I got more than just a way to pass my time. He originally went to Nigeria for some business dealings, and things seemed to be going well until someone stole his identity and he was convicted of fraud. He went on with his story; he was forced to stay in dark, dingy cells and undergo inhuman treatment. He was forced to sign a confession everyday, and the only thing that stopped him from doing so was his integrity.
In spite of his inhuman treatment, he candidly admitted that of all the inmates, he was meted the best treatment; and there would often be fights in the prison on who would stay with him in the cell; him being the only "whitey" there. The impact of racism hadn't become as apparent to me until then. His own government seemed ill inclined on pursuing his release. He continued about how for many days he had almost no food to eat. His torment ultimately did come to an end six months later, when thanks to the intervention of the Goverment, he was flying on an Emergency Visa to Canada, hoping that he could take up his issue with his government.
I recorded many things on that trip on my video camera; but I missed recording this "interview". When I look back, I do regret it, but it wouldn't really have been the same with me pointing a camera at his face.
I decided, of course, I would keep in touch with such an interesting person, and asked him how I could contact him, and he scribbled his email behind the receipt for his Big Mac (or as he called it; his first taste of home) and handed it to me. I've never succeeded in contacting him, but I still have that receipt, safe with me, and a lone picture to remind me of him; or contemplate on when I have a really bad day.
Then again, I never really needed a picture: RSK is a man I will never, ever forget.