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C H R O N I C L E O F T H E L O S T T R I B E A N D P A R T T W O, C H R O N I C L E O F T H E F I G H T I N G A N G E L (E A R T H I A N D E A R T H II


Subfile A6: “A Fulani Christmas”

Sulkowsky’s cowhide painting, which he embellished Russell-style, as he had done with others, with verses telling about things and people he had known in his rambles, told of a long-lost friend, someone who had poured out all she had to give on tribal people in Cameroon, Africa. He had lived in Washington State long enough to meet her, and had never forgotten. She was Yakima Indian herself, so they had something in common, though she lived in a well-to-do family and everything else was different between them except that she also painted.

The CCRP could not know these details, but they drew enough of the story from the verses themselves to create a script that also captured the colony’s interest. No one could claim to have known anyone like Carol, but now that they had the production of her life before their eyes they were confronted with reality of a “poured out life” that put their own lives to shame. How could anyone live life so fully amidst such difficulty and hardship? AC, even in hardship, was not this “Africa” portrayed in the production and by the site itself.

Before the gates finally closed on the site, two hundred million people had checked through, and everyone was visibly, irrevocably changed in some telling way. Here’s why:

You kept a shy Child in your heart, so full of life, you could not part.

Carol's Self-Portrait

She laughed behind your every smile,

this fey Maid of the Enchanted Isle.

Her curling hair fluffed in the breeze,

and, because of her, you set no lees.

To show the world the beauty seen

by the Child you refused to wean,

you took her to cold Minneapolis,

this secret Child of hiddenness.

Schweitzer down at Lambarene--

serving thus your husband’s dream?

Albert Schweitzer at the Untuned Piano, Lambarene, West Africa

The old apartment up the stair,

Carol’s clipped art everywhere.

a mattress spread upon the floor,

Swedish flatware--who needs more?

Factory walls, that loomed so grim,

could not snuff the Child down dim.

You wove scarf rainbows in your hair,

not the browns and grays others wear.

Company lunch was full of cheer

as you sparkled to whom came near.

But in this place you could not fit,

the light you brought exposed the pit.

You soon were given the Pink Slip,

and sent back where the cold winds rip.

How did you make it, your earnings lost?

What profit made was worth your cost?

Carol Given a Pink Slip:  Scene from Stage Production

And then you took your Child to France afar,

even south of the Sahar.

Your Child still could laugh in you,

though all around sad things came in view.

You saw the poverty, the sick and old,

to help them you had no silver and no gold.

All you had was your own life,

and Good News that ends all strife.

You left your kindred and homeland

to build a bridge to a tribal band.

They were called the Fulani,

who tended herds far from the sea.

Bridge to the Fulani

The girls and women loved you, Carol,

your strange, light skin and odd apparel.

You tried their garb, the flowing sack--

far cry from Nordstrem's rack.

Carol in a Fulani Robe

No hair salon, well, then, scarves and braids--

the scarves you saved from last ant raids.

Why wear shoes? God made bare feet.

One dress kept you chic each week.

What fashion was there here to seek?

Carol at Elysees Palace, Paris

For bread you ground up local grain,

on which you labored, might and main.

Dough and flour drew forth ants,

but the taste--surpassing France!

Gustav Mahler on short wave radio,

a tallow candle burning slow.

A flower vase with blue weeds dried

made a charming sight inside.

Did your Child paint scenes on your walls?

Moon-faced children with stick dolls?

Flowers surely were one choice,

their reds and blues a singing voice.

Upwards all their petals turned

beneath a sun so large it burned.

No quitter then, you kept right on.

Painted Christmas Tree and Child for Ron.

But this Savior now was clear to see,

the One you were to the Fulani.

House Above the Clouds

The birds flocked down to eat your garden.

The jackal came and snatched your hen.

The ants invaded thick one day,

the broom swept them back with a “Hooray!”

You drew your water from a stream

that looked, not smelled, like chocolate cream.

You let it settle quite some time,

tried to strain out cow and grime.

Then you cooked it on the stove,

to stun the mites that swam and dove.

Red Kool-Aide then did miracles

to cover up the taste of cows!

Cows were most everywhere--

in your soup you spied cow hair!

How long the days could stretch up there--

your hill house nested in the air.

And clouds passed by below your home

as you broke the last bit of comb.

“How many die, the women here!”

Yet you, the Child, never expressed fear.

Now suddenly came the fatal slide

from this life--”Carol? Well, she died.

The day before she seemed just fine.

Of her illness, still no sign.

And little Jens? He had just been born,

and now from her he has been torn.

What a sight she was at birth,

her feet in pails, and huge in girth!

Carol Being Cooled for Delivery

Yet what joy when Jens finally showed--

the fruit of a long, long road.

For hospitals were few and far,

and roads were dust, innocent of tar.

Then, in a flash, she fell down ill,

for which there was no saving pill.

Nothing for it, she must go

back by road to hospital.

That long, long race, so deathly pale!

Ron took you back to no avail.

Ron and Carol Rushing to Hospital

Did angels’ hands help at the door?

Eyes wept for you, all hearts broke sore.

Up to your neck in the fast water

running into darkness, Death waiting there--

was the Child still laughing merry in you?

Did she leap out to Christ in view?

Naturally, people wanting to know ransacked the colony’s database for information on such unknowns as Schweitzer, Mahler, and other things mentioned in the life. “Kool-Aide,” what was that? “Good News,” “Fulani,” “Christ”--these too needed checking out by many people--fifty million, to be approximate.

As the production’s values took stronger and stronger hold on the colony’s hearts, charities and crisis clinics and health services and aid organizations devoted to the elderly and disabled noticed a sudden, radical surge in giving by supporters, most of them first-time givers. “A Fulani Christmas” was, evidently, striking deep, just as the other productions of “The Christmas Factor” had already done.

“Birds,” “Cows,” “Ants,”--these they could not know in reality. But they could know, and did know, suffering, lonely, unwanted, sick people in the colony. Carol’s example now began making a significant difference in how thousands and thousands of these people were treated from now on in AC. Who cares if “Minneapolis” could never be properly explained, since whatever it was hadn’t existed for over a million years? Who cared about that, when the real issue--the needs of unfortunate people going without care and aid and comforting, caring treatment--lay right before the AC’s eyes. Indeed, the AC colony learned a great deal from “A Fulani Christmas.”

The production did not end there. The database, extensively searched, turned up yet another item, Carol's long-lost monograph, "...And the Light". This was Carol herself speaking on a reel tape recorded in the 1960s, sometime after graduating from "high school." Using textual criticism, it was determined by the examiners of the monograph that Carol must have composed the spiritual autobiography contained in the monograph while in college, perhaps for a Religion class. It was given somehow to her parents' keeping, and years after her death it was given by them to the Sulkowskies, who had maintained close contact with her family. Ira S. must have treasured it, and much later it was uploaded by an unknown person into a computer's database. Drawn into the combined C.I.A. and F.B.I. files on American Indians (showing an unusual amount of collaboration between these two agencies), it was later sent to Tutasix to augment the files there on Indian populations world-wide. Tutasix, before its termination by natural causes, sent copies of its files to various locations where databases were permanently stored as backups to the main archives at Tutasix. These were secret, highly classified locations, but Nilsson's ingenious Ibsenites succeeded in discovering and gaining access to them. The address of one such location was taken along on ARGO II and later was filed at the base colony in A-C.

"...And the Light," revealed to the public, provoked an immediate sensation. Here was a young woman laying bare her spiritual odyssey--a venture that touched the deepest chords in the hearts and souls of the A-Cs. Within a few months her monograph was presented in dramatic form to huge gatherings. Thousands wept during the readings, they so identified with Carol's struggle to find the Light she had once known with a child's faith but somehow had lost in growing up. It was a most amazing spectacle to see as many as million people at a time gathered to hear and see "...And the Light" produced on a set that showed what her home, church, and high school must have been like. How quaint the setting was! Scandinavian-American, set in the little hills above a fertile, sparsely populated valley in Western Washington that was then chiefly known for growing daffodils, rhubarb, and raspberries. A-C could not have presented a more stark contrast, yet the human factor was the same, connecting the two vastly different times and worlds across unfathomable gulfs of space. "...And the Light" proved beyond any question that the human soul had not changed a degree in the span of over a million years since Carol composed the last sentence: "As I began to think of my earliest faith, a light flickered on...". A-C had "grown up," too, over the course of million years, but had it like Carol lost its direction and now wandered, its anchor dragging, unable to find the right course to its ultimate destiny? This was the challenge the monograph presented to each ansd every A-C: "Who are you?" "Where are you going?" "Where is your faith's anchor set?" "Are you wandering further into darkness or travelling toward the Light?"

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