WHEN LANGUAGE SERVES AS A SOOTHING BALM


THE HIDDEN FACE OF LANGUAGE

Although we all receive messages all the time, it must be acknowledged that there are some messages that arrive and create an unforgettable impact on the receiver. I received one of such messages online this morning, and it has made my day.

It came all the way from Phnom Penh in Cambodia, from a fellow Cameroonian who is an interpreter at the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNAKRT). He is called Polycarp Ambe-Niba.

Below is what the message says:

“My Dear Brother,

When I am feeling down and out, there is no better tonic for my flagging spirits than to read one of your short stories, such as the Soiled Bowl of Garri, which I have just read with special relish. Stories like these are so soothing because I can relate to you, the author, as well as the story line, characters and setting.

I look forward to meeting you when I next visit Cameroon to thank you viva voce. I am sure you still remember me from the short time we spent together in Bambili. I only refer to our time in Bambili because by the time I joined the 5th form in Sacred Heart from Bishop Rogan College, you had left.

By the way, I am writing from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where I and my family are residing and working. I work as interpreter at the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNAKRT). I have been here for the past 5 years.

I am writing to make a special request: How can I buy all your publications, especially your 9 books? I would very much like to order those books.

Cheers

Polycarp Ambe-Niba”.

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