CENTRALNOAFRIČKA REPUBLIKA – CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC – RÉPUBLIQUE CENTRAFRICAINE – Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka

Bon voyage

Bon voyage

Camci-piroge na reci Ubangi, preko puta je Kongo-Pirogue boats on the Ubangui River, across is Congo

Camci-piroge na reci Ubangi, preko puta je Kongo-Pirogue boats on the Ubangui River, across is Congo

Frizerski salon na otvorenom-An open air haidresser's salon

Frizerski salon na otvorenom-An open air haidresser’s salon

Igra s Pigmejima-Dancing with the Pygmies

Igra s Pigmejima-Dancing with the Pygmies

Manioka se susi-Manioc drying

Manioka se susi-Manioc drying

Moderan deo glavnog grada-A shopping district in the capital Bangui

Moderan deo glavnog grada-A shopping district in the capital Bangui

Pigmejska deca-The Pigmy children

Pigmejska deca-The Pigmy children

Pigmejska zena-A Pygmy woman

Pigmejska zena-A Pygmy woman

Pijaca kraj puta-A market by the road

Pijaca kraj puta-A market by the road

Piroga u reci Ubangi-A pirogue boat in the Ubangui River

Piroga u reci Ubangi-A pirogue boat in the Ubangui River

Prodavacica manga-A mango vendor

Prodavacica manga-A mango vendor

Tajni agent-A secret agent

Tajni agent-A secret agent

Tito i revolucija na uli-ìnoj pijaci-Tito and the Revolution on the street market

Tito i revolucija na uli-ìnoj pijaci-Tito and the Revolution on the street market

U pigmejskom selu - In the Pigmy village

U pigmejskom selu – In the Pigmy village

U pigmejskom selu-In the Pigmy village

U pigmejskom selu-In the Pigmy village

Usamljena crkva u unutrasnjosti-A lonely church in the countryside

Usamljena crkva u unutrasnjosti-A lonely church in the countryside

Usamljena dzamija u unutrasnjosti-A lonely mosque in the countryside

Usamljena dzamija u unutrasnjosti-A lonely mosque in the countryside

Mislim da sam od svih stranaca u ovoj zemlji jedino ja srećan, zato što sam ovde došao svojom voljom i u želji da je upoznam. Većina njih su, prema mojoj oceni, niži službenici koje su šefovi ovde poslali da završe neki posao, a oni proklinju taj dan u znoju lica svog na 40 stepeni Celzijusa, jer ova zemlja je toliko daleko od svih svetskih poslova i zbivanja.
Iako me je lift jedva popeo do sobe, uz naznaku da svakog trenutka može stati, pogled na reku Ubangi i Kongo na drugoj obali izazvao je prijatno uzbuđenje u meni. Dugi drveni čamci, koji se nazivaju piroge, lenjo krstare ogromnom rekom, koja je, kao i sve afričke reke, izvor života i radosti. Ljudi deluju opušteno i srećno u svojoj lenjosti, pa sam i ja poprimio malo te njihove sreće, vozeći se čamcem u suton. Čak ni trik granične policije, koja me je dočekala na povratku sa optužbom da sam ilegalno prelazio rečnu granicu, nije me mnogo uzbudio. Ovde se takvi problemi rešavaju sa nekoliko dolara, a u narednim danima više me je uniformisanih lica prepadalo da sam ih slikao bez dozvole, jer su se slučajno našli u kadru. Kupio sam majicu sa natpisom ove zemlje i od sreće zapalio cigaretu, iako sam se davno odrekao te navike. Saznanje da sutra idem da vidim palatu cara Bokase i obiđem pleme Pigmeja, u meni stvara neizmernu radost koju donose nova otkrića. Sa terase ponovo posmatram moćni Ubangi u sumrak i jedva čekam novi dan, dok se generator cele noći očajno muči ne bi li dao malo snage ovom oronulom hotelu, ipak najboljem u gradu.
Poseta pigmejskom selu pričinila mi je radost upoznavanja novog plemena, obilazak njihovog sela i kuća, čak igra sa njima u centru sela. Sva plemena su izvorno neiskvarena i zato je sreća biti sa njima. Pigmeji mnogo vole da puše, pa smo im doneli cigarete, kao i so, šećer i neke sitnice sa bazara u Bangiju. I zaista su mali, mada sam ja očekivao patuljke, pa su mi zato izgledali nešto viši. I nisu imali duvaljke sa otrovnim strelicama. Ali, delovali su mi veselo i srećno, mada ne verujem da ovde ima turista koji ih često posećuju.
Putovanje kroz unutrašnjost zemlje je živopisno. Intenzivno afričko zelenilo tropskog pojasa ovom narodu daje sve svoje plodove, što ih čini srećnim.
U jednom trenutku vodič mi je pokazao jednog mlađeg čoveka, poslanika oblasti kroz koju smo prolazili. Bio je to sin cara Bokase, koji je sebe krajem sedamdesetih godina prošlog veka doveo u središte svetske medijske pažnje, tako što je za svoje krunisanje, na specijalnom prestolu sa zlatnim orlovima, potrošio dvadesetak miliona dolara. To je ipak bilo previše za ovu siromašnu zemlju i njenog samoproklamovanog cara, koga su čak teretili i za kanibalizam. U Bokasinim palatama danas su državne institucije iz kojih vire puščani nišani, pa nisu sasvim pogodne za fotografisanje. I pored svega, nisam primetio nikakav negativan naboj prema njemu. Naprotiv, knjige o njemu se prodaju na ulici, uz neke druge kao Tito et la Révolucion.
Tek toliko, da se ne zaboravi, ko je bio najveći izvoznik revolucija u Africi.

Mart 2009.
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I think that of all the foreigners here I am the only happy one, as I came of my own volition and with a desire to learn about this place. In my estimate, most of the foreigners are administrative staff, sent by their managers to complete some project, and they curse that day while sweating profusely at 40 degrees Celsius, because this country is so far away from all the world’s events and business.
Even though the creaky lift barely managed to take me to the second floor, sounding like it was going to break down any moment, the view over the Oubangui River and the Congo on the other side, filled me with a pleasurable excitement. Long wooden boats, called pirogues, lazily cruise the immense African river, which is, like all African rivers, a source of life and joy. People seem relaxed and happy in that lazy state, so some of that happiness brushed with me too during that boat ride, at sunset. Even the accusation by the border police, on the way back, that I have illegally crossed the river border, did not spoil my mood. Here such problems are resolved with a few dollars and in the subsequent days several people in uniforms accused me of taking pictures of them without permission, because they were accidentally caught by my camera. I bought a T-shirt with this country’s name on it, and out of sheer joy I lit a cigarette, even though I had kicked that habit a long time ago. Realising that the following day I was going to see Emperor Bokassa’s palace and visit a pygmy tribe, I felt incredibly happy anticipating new discoveries.  From the balcony I observed again the mighty Oubangui river at sunset and could not wait for the new day to begin; the electric generator droned in agony straining to produce energy for this run down, yet the best hotel in the city.
During the visit to the pygmy village, I was lucky to meet a new tribe, to have a tour of their houses and even to dance with them at the centre of the village. All the tribesmen are innocent people and that is why it is such a pleasure to be with them. Pygmy people like to smoke very much, so we brought them cigarettes, salt, sugar and other bits from the market in Bangui. They really were small, but as I expected real dwarfs, they appeared somewhat taller. And they did not have blowguns with poisoned darts. To me they appeared joyous and happy, but I would not say that many tourists visit them.
Travelling through the hinterland I saw many picturesque sites. The lush African greenery of the tropic belt yields all sort of fruit, making local people happy. Suddenly, our guide pointed to a young man, the representative of the region we were travelling through. This was actually the son of Emperor Bokassa, a man who gained a lot of  world’s media attention in the 1970s because he spent some 20 million dollars for a special throne with gilded eagles, for his own coronation. This was really too much for this poor country and its self-proclaimed emperor, who had even been accused of cannibalism. Today, Bokassa’s palaces house national institutions, guarded by protruding rifle barrels, so they are not really suitable for photography. Despite all this, I did not detect any hostility towards Bokassa. On the contrary, books about him are being sold in the streets, alongside some other ones such as Tito et la Révolucion.
Just so we do not forget who the biggest exporter of revolutions to Africa was.

March 2009

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