LIBANIA DE SOUZA
Libania De Souza is 90 years old February 10, 2006 and was born in Mombassa, Kenya. I was was born in Nairobi, Kenya and so we have a bond of a nature unique to those that love Kenya and that great land the home of human kind.
This story matters a lot to me because Libania De Souza is my mother in law and has been a very affectionate mother in law for a long, long time. My wife Maria, my sister in law Lina and my brother in law Joseph were all present to celebrate this very auspicious day.
Libania De Souza lived in Mombassa and then moved to Goa, India and then back to Nairobi, Kenya when she got married and then back to Goa, India. After raising three children her eldest Lina De Souza, her son Joseph De Souza and my wife Maria Da Costa she now has the company of all of her three children here in San Francisco.
Recently we all gathered as we do on important occasions to feast, rejoice and share fond memories of yester years. Not too many live to be 90 years old and have their faculties in tact to make conversation that spans decades. The institutional memories of Kenya are important to me because very few are alive to verify certain pertinent happenings.
At one time the British ruled the world and it afforded opportunities for men mostly to go and search for work and make a good living. Many men left the shores of Portuguese India and headed for East Africa.
For some of us that were born in East Africa our bond to the land and life is unique. Kenya is great - stretching from the beaches of Mombassa and Malindi to the heights of Nairobi the City which is at an altitude of 5800 feet. Temperate climate, good food, and best of everything in the early 50s to 60s. We have the best long distance runners in the world.
Most of us know about the turmoil when the Mau Mau played havoc. Others who lived there in the early 1900s saw in the entire movement to build the railway from the coast to Nairobi high up and close to Mount Kenya and open the development of a great Nation Kenya. The people of Goa are called Goans. One of kind as they have the ability to adapt to all kind of situations and have proved to be skilled at acquiring especial abilities when it come to facilitating.
By faith mostly Catholic with good schooling and the ability to speak English, Portuguese, and a couple of other languages they make and made the best teachers, bankers, government officials, church leaders, and grace high positions all over the world.
Libania De Souza played her role as did my mother Alice Da Costa and thousands of other Goan women. I remember them from my early days and so when I spend some quality time talking to Libania De Souza my mother in law - I think and ponder and speak in Konkani, English, Swahili and it comes naturally because even though I am here in San Francisco I can transport to a time and place we two share and embrace.
The family gathered and I took out my tiny digital tape recorder and set it on the table. Libania really did not know what this tiny instrument was doing but she would later. I now have her voice and can listen to her words again and again.
I prodded her with questions where she was born and about some fond memories and she related the events well and I saw that twinkle in her eye. My heart grew warm and the bond of talking about Mombassa, Nairobi, the people, the life, and other great memories enkindles a fire and moistens the eyes because we are so far but yet so near.
Goans love to cook and so the dishes were placed and grace was said and all was well because the gourmet cooking nourished and all were happy on this great day in the presence of some one dear and 90 years old. There was even some nice decoration. Everyone had gone a little further to make this day a memorable one.
There was good champagne and other choice deserts all with moderation because that has been a factor - as a family we rarely over do it. I personally eat little but I was happy with my interview and then it struck me - I have web site what prevents me from show casing Libania De Souza for the entire world to know a little and for me to treasure the moments of her 90th birthday.
The family gathering.
90th Birthday - Libania De Souza.
Look at me!
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