Contemplating Coconuts

Why is he putting coconuts on his roof? Ah, it must have a leak. Yes, that is it. The roof has a leak and people know how to use resources here to their advantage. But how will he fasten them to the roof? Humm. Maybe he will poor cement on top of them. Builders use cement for everything. But why didn’t he put a layer of cement down before carefully laying the coconuts onto the roof? And, why does he need coconuts and cement? Why not just cement? I don’t see any cement bags.

Maybe he is an artist. He collects coconuts and he is going to do some artistic project that has a message only seen from an aerial view. That seems like a lot of work for just a few lucky people who can afford a helicopter to fly by to witness some obscure message. And, come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve actually seen any helicopters fly by my village. 

Alright, I can likely reject the artist idea, but I’m keeping the roof repair on the list of possibilities. Maybe he just has too many coconuts and doesn’t know what else to do with them. Maybe his house is filled with coconuts and he has no where else to put them; now he will begin stacking them on his roof. No, that’s just silly.

Oh, I know, he is feeding the birds! Do birds like coconuts? I’ve never seen a bird eat coconuts before. This man must love birds! Then I think to myself, “Karen, none of this makes any sense!”

So this was my entertainment during my first and second cup of coffee one morning. I used my imagination to think of every possible reason why this man has large burlap sacks of coconuts that he hauls onto his tin roof, spreading them out one by one.

I brainstorm quietly, coming up with reason after reason for this curious behavior. When I can no longer come up with anymore brilliant ideas I decide to do the only logical thing I can think of to solve this mystery. I stood up and walked over to the edge of my deck, “Excuse me sir. Would you mind telling me why you are putting coconuts on your roof?”

It was then that he patiently explained he was setting them out to dry. It would take two, perhaps three days for them to dry. Once dried, he will retrieve them and separate the meat from the shell which he will sell in Soufreire where they manufacture coconut oil.

While I was drinking my coffee and watching this man drag bag after bag of coconuts onto his roof, I was looking for a complex answer. I failed to see the simple answer.



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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.