"Jerry, do you want to see the real Africa?"
My friend Franck said those words without skipping a syllable.
I paused, stared at Franck directly in the eyes with an indifference I knew he wouldn't catch. I wasn't sure how to answer that question. I had been in the Ivory Coast for nearly two months. My hopes to see the "real" Africa had diminished to the point of apathy.
What could the "real" Africa mean to Franck? I stared down at my beer, concentrating on the perspiration on the outside, than to the whole spicy chicken we had just shared.
Again, he asked me: Do you want to see the "real" Africa? Yes. I did not expect to stumble across what Franck was about to tell me.
"Jerry", Franck said, "Have you ever heard of leper? I looked at him puzzled, my mind still cloudy from having consumed two liters of beer.
"You mean leprosy? Correct?", I inquired.
"Ah, yes, yes. Leprosy", he said with such a casual nature. "You know about this disease?" There was something rancid in the way he said disease that made my stomach turn.
"In my village, that I grew up in as a child, there are many people who have this disease." Franck had my full attention. Why is this opportunity being presented to me now.
He continued, "The town is called Duquesne-Cremone and I want to show you the effects that this disease has on my people."