When I was walking down the street in Venice, I noticed one unique man sitting in a patio at a shop along the street, and I immediately felt something special about him.
I already passed the place but my heart said "Go back and meet him" to me strongly so I went back to where I saw him.
He seemed occupied with what he was doing, but he let me sit together and talk.
His name is David Busch, a Venice Hippy whose house is his bicycle.
He has been a human rights activist working for homeless people in Venice.
One time he was arrested when he put a porta-potty on the street.
The City of LA closed public toilets from midnight until 5 am in the area where homeless people, the youth travelers, and street children spend their night in Venice, sometimes they had to wait for the toilets to open until nearly 8 am.
So David erected the porta-potty and covered with hippy peace signs with a smily-faced placard saying "Hi, I'm your porta-potty."
Then he began to collect donations of sanitary goods for homeless people.
David was sentenced innocent, and he continues to fight for human rights today.
He gave me a placard that he wore saying "MORE LOVE" and told me to make another one when I can.
"Don't use new materials. Go to a garbage bin and get paper and pen. When people call you crazy, then say you're crazy."
A strong message from him.
Doing a right thing sometimes seems crazy to other people.
The most important thing is that you are sure about what is right and wrong.
Once you are certain with what is right then just do it no matter what other people may say to you.
I thank to this inspiring meeting with him.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Los Angels)
When I was in Rio de Janeiro, I went to Ipanema Beach and wrote stories in my notebook sometimes.
It was a cloudy afternoon when I saw a girl watching the ocean on the beach.
Tall, tan, young, and lovely.
She looked like she had come straight out of the most famous Bossa Nova song.
She was quietly watching the ocean alone.
“I wonder where the sun's gone,” I talked to her out of the blue.
She turned her face and looked at me.
“Excuse me, I just wanted to say hi to you.”
I was embarrassed and added so.
“Hi,” she gave me a gentle smile, but her eyes were slightly sorrowful.
“What are you watching?” I asked.
After a bit of silence, she replied.
“I like watching the ocean when it rains. I thought it was going to rain today, but it seems not,” rising her eyes she continued.
“Why do you like watching the ocean in the rain?”
A man selling coconut juice passed by.
“Do you want coconut juice?”
She asked me instead of answering to my question.
We bought coconuts and sat on the beach together.
”I used to live in the favela there,” saying so she pointed the symbolic Dois Irmois over the beach.
“The place was peaceful back then, but it became little dangerous to live there now.”
She looked at the gray ocean again.
Her beautiful eyes reflecting the sky and the water seemed to be filled with sadness.
Being unable to see her like that, I asked her if she would like to read one of my stories that I just finished.
It was a story of Cheetahs and Lions.
“I wrote the story in Portuguese for children. I hope my handwriting is readable.”
She smiled and received my small notebook.
While she was reading it, I was thinking why she liked watching the rainy ocean.
Maybe because the beach is less crowded and more peaceful?
Maybe because no one notices when she cries as much as she wants in the rain?
I drank coco and waited for her to finish reading my story.
“Wow,” she released her breath and closed my notebook.
“The ending was shocking, but I liked it,” giving me my notebook back she said.
“Yeah, it might be too strong to children,” I responded.
“By the way, I still want to know why you like watching the ocean on a rainy day.”
I looked at her kind eyes and said.
“Ah, okay,” she smiled shyly.
“When it rains, the air is filled with raindrops that connect the sky and the ocean. The border between the sky and the ocean disappears. What I see turns into one beautiful water world. It makes me feel so peaceful, that’s why I like it.”
Both she and I kept watching the ocean for a while.
“Well, thank you for your story. I need to go now,” she said and stood up.
“Thank you for the unforgettable moment you shared with me,” I replied and stood up, too.
“Hey, can I have your name?”
I asked the tall girl brushing the sand off her jeans.
She smiled and replied.
This time I did not see sadness in her smile; at least I thought so.
“Dri, a girl from Ipanema…”
I talked to myself while watching Dri’s back getting away.
After she was gone, I looked up at the cloudy sky and thought that it would have been so nice if it were rainy today.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Rio de Janeiro)
He sits behind the Natural History Museum in Maputo and draws from morning till afternoon almost every day.
He draws only imaginary things in his head.
One day I asked him if he could draw my face, he declined.
Another day I offered him a T-shirt with a logo saying "more art, less violence".
He thanked me a bit and put it on his lap then went back to drawing as if nothing happened.
We were there together physically, but we were not together spiritually.
Behind the Natural History Museum is his atelier and sanctuary.
Love and respect to the artist.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Maputo)
“Are you watching the moon or the tree?”
After I took a photo of the silhouette of jacaranda under the moonlight, and kept looking up into the sky, a teenage boy talked to me.
“I was watching this,” saying I showed him the picture image in my camera.
“Beautiful,” he said.
“Where are you from?” he asked.
His big eyes were reflecting the moonlight.
I pointed at the evening sky and said “from the moon,” with a serious face.
He seemed to smile for a second and said “I thought so.”
“Oh, why so?”
“You looked sad when you were watching the sky.”
I was a bit surprised.
“Yes,” he nodded.
“When my father misses his home, he looks sad. So I thought you were also missing home.”
He told me that his father came to Eswatini to find a job from Zimbabwe, and met the boy’s mother, then the boy was born.
“Sometimes I see my father looking at the direction of Zimbabwe. Maybe he wants to go back.”
I looked at his anxious face.
“Don’t worry, my brother,” I held the boy’s shoulder.
He looked up at my face.
“I’m sure that he is not sad but happy living in Eswatini with you and your mom,” I smiled at him.
“The moon is beautiful, so is earth. We can find beauty in anywhere in universe, and we can find home in anywhere as well when there is love there. Zimbabwe is where your father’s from, but Eswatini is his home.”
Then we looked up into the evening sky together.
I was not sure if the boy felt better.
A faint sweet fragrance of jacaranda gently hung in the air.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Nhlangano)
One evening on my way home I saw a shepherd looking up in the sky.
I went to him and gave him an apple which I had as if it was our regular greeting.
After eating the apple he said to me.
"I must go home now. The bad wind will reach here soon."
"What is the bad wind?" I asked him.
"It's very cold. It makes my animals sick."
"Shepherds know that they have only two choices. To move before wind reaches there, or to be caught by it."
He smiled in thanks for the apple, then began to guide his animals home.
"To move, or to be caught," talking to myself I also started walking home in a hurry.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Thabaneng)
Am I seeing somebody super famous?
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Thabaneng)
One fisherman was looking at a small lake quietly when I passed by in the morning.
At his feet fish scales scattered and shined.
I stood next to him and looked at the lake too.
He smoked for a while and asked me.
"Do you want a fish?"
His boat was made out of a lower half of a water tank.
"Water of Lesotho runs all the way through South Africa and Namibia, then flows into Atlantic Ocean," he smiled a bit and got on his boat.
"I didn't know that Lesotho was not only a kingdom in the sky, but also a mother of the ocean," I said to his back.
"See you in one hour," saying so he pulled out to the gentle lake.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Mafeteng)
My host family in Lesotho Tshepo Nkhabu Cycles is an inspiring leader of his local youth community.
He empowers teenagers through cycling based on "a sound mind in a sound body".
I heard many young people saying with their eyes shining that they love cycling with Tshepo so much and they always look forward to the next ride.
Tshepo also teaches how to repair bicycles so that the youth can start their own bike repair business in the future.
Tshepo is young but already has experienced a lot through his life.
When I entered his room for the first time, one beautiful piece of poem by him caught my eye.
"Where I go is not where I wish to stay, and where I come from is not there I'll return."
I believe that he's got the soul of vagabond.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Thabaneng)
One day before I left Cape Town, I met an artist from Lesotho which was my next destination.
After having a chat, he offered me one of his artworks.
"I like the way you live. I want to support it. Take this painting, and if anyone wants it then sell it. You can get some money to live as a vagabond, and you can share my inspiration as well. That's how we make this world more interesting," he said.
I decided to give the painting to an astronomer's family who hosted me in Cape Town.
The family welcomes their friends and guests from all over the world, and the painting will give inspiration to those who see it.
Here I am honored to exhibit the artwork of the artist from a kingdom of the sky, Muso Masoabi.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Cape Town)
Aina and Emmanuel were a young married couple who loved traveling.
One time they camped nearby a river where many hippopotamuses inhabited.
Aina and Emmanuel walked all day long along the river, but they could not see any hippopotamus.
A local man whom Aina and Emmanuel met on their way told them that the hippopotamuses of the river usually hide during the daytime, and they come out after sunset.
The man warned the young couple to stay away from the river during the nighttime.
He said that a hippopotamus is an aggressive animal, and it becomes even more aggressive at night.
On the first night Aina invited Emmanuel to check out the river together, but Emmanuel did not agree, and he went to sleep.
Aina also tried to sleep, but she could not sleep at all.
She single-mindedly imagined about the wild hippopotamuses all night long in her sleeping bag.
Next morning, Aina and Emmanuel found countless footprints of hippopotamuses along the riverbank.
It was obvious that the hippopotamuses enjoyed their gathering there last night.
Aina asked Emmanuel to go to see the hippopotamuses together at night, but Emmanuel did not look like willing to do so.
When night fell, Aina told Emmanuel that she was going to check out the river.
Emmanuel said that he was going to stay and he told her to stay with him because it could be dangerous to meet hippopotamus when it is dark.
Aina was not happy to hear that, and decided to go out on her own.
Aina was disappointed at Emmanuel’s attitude.
She wanted adventures, but her husband seemed to want only comfortable experiences.
After Emmanuel fell asleep, Aina got out of the tent and walked towards the river.
There was no moon in the sky, all around was very dark.
Aina could hardly see her way, she carefully listened to where the sound of water came from.
In the darkness Aina suddenly heard something big walking close to her.
She stopped there with tension, and remained still while holding her breath.
The footsteps slowly approached her.
Aina was scared and she regretted that she went out alone.
She closed her eyes and prayed that it would leave, but the footsteps came right in front of her and stopped there.
Aina got frightened and kept closing her eyes until it hurts.
She did not know how long she stood there, but she felt that it became brighter around her.
She also felt that her fear faded away somehow.
Aina timidly opened her eyes, and found that there was a breathtakingly beautiful man standing in front of her.
The man wore only loincloth and his body glittered goldenly in the darkness.
He held Aina’s hand gently and said.
“I will take you to where your heart belongs to.”
Before she thought Aina’s feet automatically followed the beautiful man.
They walked through the darkness and reached the river.
There were many beautiful people in loincloth gathering in a circle and having a good time on a riverbank.
They all shined, so where they were playing looked very bright.
Aina was enchanted by the beautiful people, she almost forgot where she was.
Everybody was gentle and kind to her.
Aina did not care who those people were, she was just happy to be with them.
The beautiful man who took Aina to the river went into the water and swam comfortably.
There were some children in the circle, too.
One beautiful boy came out and greeted Aina.
Aina smiled and greeted back.
She then realized that ears of the boy looked like hippopotamus’s ears.
“Oh, your ears...”
Just as she said, Aina felt that everybody got startled and looked at her in shock.
Suddenly the light of the people’s body disappeared and the place was thrown into darkness.
Aina came to know that she was now surrounded not by the beautiful kind people, but by the wild hippopotamuses.
The boy also turned into a small hippopotamus.
Then it started poking Aina with his nose rudely.
Even though the hippo was small, It was too powerful to Aina.
Aina asked the small hippo, but it did not stop, and began to push her around harder.
None of the hippos around her helped Aina.
Aina looked for the man who took her to the river.
He became a big hippopotamus now, quietly watching Aina and the small hippo from the river.
“Please, please tell the boy to stop pushing me!”
Aina shouted at the big hippo.
Instead of stopping the small hippo, the big hippo loudly farted and laughed.
Aina was in pain and she begged the help.
“Please, it’s not a joke! This hippo hurts me seriously!”
The big hippo replied to Aina.
“You wanted to experience something adventurous, didn’t you?”
All the wild hippos kept gazing at Aina.
Aina said to the big hippo.
“No, not like this! I want to go back!”
“Don’t you know that this is where your heart belongs to?”
The big hippo asked Aina.
“No, this is not! I just want to go back to my husband!”
Aina was crying.
“It is too late, we are going to take you with us.”
The big hippo coldly said, and went underwater.
The rest of the hippopotamuses drew her and pushed her towards the river.
“No, I don’t want to go! Help! Emmanuel, help me!”
Aina’s voice was drowned out by the sound of splash.
All the hippopotamus disappeared into the river with Aina.
Next morning, when Emmanuel woke up and looked for Aina, what he found was not his beloved wife, but a single line of footprints of a hippopotamus going to the river from his tent.
(photo & story by Tengyo Kura, Cubango River)