By Tikum Mbah Azonga
Mr. Mariot was a Britishman who served as agric officer at the Agric Farm in Bambui where I grew up. At the time my late father, Francis Fan Mbah Tayong (popularly known as Fineboy) worked under him as nightwatchman of his residence and in 1958 when I was barely a year old, he took a colour snapshot of my father in his lovely guarden. I still have that photograph to this day, with my father standing handsomely in his traditional regalia, clasping his two long spears in his right hand and wearing a very accommodating smile.
What I remember most about Mr. Mariot was the fact that he once visited my father in our compound and when told the latter was plucking coffee somewhere in the compound, he went looking for him and found him. When they started conversing, he declined the offer of a chair and instead sat on the metalic board on which my father used to stand his headpan of warm water before bathing. I do not know whether my father's guest ever knew that was the purpose of the object. From the age of three I insisted my name was Mr. Mariot. Unfortunately for me, only one person in the family, my late aunt Ma Eli Anjeh Mbaku called me by that name.
Gone are the rough times
Or so I hope
No more Sysiphus stone
Or shall you insts?
The very place of it is foreboding
Yet exploits are rare and dreams aboud
When our Mariot's yard boy returns
Even the crippled will walk.