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从肯尼亚到哈佛,我跨越了两个世界的鸿沟

更新时间:2018-5-17 21:28:38 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

“These are the two worlds I have inherited, and my existence in one is not possible without the other.”
从肯尼亚到哈佛,我跨越了两个世界的鸿沟

My grandmother hovers over the stove flame, fanning it as she melodically hums Kikuyu spirituals. She kneads the dough and places it on the stove, her veins throbbing with every movement: a living masterpiece painted by a life of poverty and motherhood. The air becomes thick with smoke and I am soon forced out of the walls of the mud-brick house while she laughs.

祖母徘徊在炉子的火焰旁,一边优美地哼着吉库尤人的宗教歌曲,一边扇着火。她揉好面团,放在炉子上。她的静脉随着每个动作抽动:这是一幅由贫困和生为人母的一生所绘成的活生生的杰作。空气中的烟雾越来越浓,我很快就被逼出了这座泥巴砖墙房子,她哈哈大笑。

As for me, I wander down to the small stream at the ridge on the farm’s edge, remembering my father’s stories of rising up early to feed the cows and my mother’s memories of the sweat on her brow from hours of picking coffee at a local plantation.

我呢,我漫步到农场边缘一座山脊中的小溪,想起父亲早早起身喂牛的故事,想起在母亲的回忆中,她在当地一个种植园里摘了数小时咖啡豆后额头上的汗珠。

Life here juxtaposes itself profoundly against the life I live in America; the scourge of poverty and flickering prosperity that never seem to coalesce. But these are the two worlds I have inherited, and my existence in one is not possible without the other. At the stream, I recollect my other life beyond this place. In America, I watch my father come home every night, beaten yet resilient from another day of hard work on the road. He sits me and my sister down, and though weary-eyed, he manages the soft smile I know him for and asks about our day.

这里的生活与我在美国的生活有着极大的不同,贫穷的苦难与闪烁的繁荣似乎永远不会相容。但这就是我所继承的两个世界。而我在任何一个世界中的存在也离不开另外一个世界。在溪水旁,我回忆起我在别处的生活。在美国,我看着父亲每晚回家,劳累却又习以为常地结束了又一天辛苦奔忙的工作。尽管他的双眼中透着疲惫,但他会让我和妹妹坐下,努力挂上我熟悉的微笑,问我们今天过得怎样。

My sister is quick to oblige, speaking wildly of learning and mischief. In that moment, I realize that she is too young to remember our original home: the old dust of barren apartment walls and the constant roar outside of life in the nighttime.

妹妹的回应很快,大谈特谈她的学习和淘气。这一刻,我才意识到她太小了,以至于忘了我们原来的家:家徒四壁的破旧公寓,夜晚有动物在外面不断地嚎叫。

Soon after, I find myself lying in bed, my thoughts and the soft throb of my head the only audible things in the room. I ponder whether my parents — dregs floating across a diasporic sea before my time — would have imagined their sacrifices for us would come with sharp pains in their backs and newfound worries, tear-soaked nights and early mornings. But, it is too much to process. Instead, I dream of them and the future I will build with the tools they have given me.

不久之后,我发现屋内唯一可以听到的,只有躺在床上的我脑中的思绪和轻微悸动的声响。我琢磨着,在我的到来之前,父母曾在离散之海上漂流,当时他们是否想过,他们为我们作出的牺牲会伴随着后背的剧痛、每个流泪夜晚与清晨的新忧虑。但是要理解起来太过繁杂。于是,我会梦见他们,以及我用他们赋予我的工具去开创的未来。

Realizing I have mused far too long by the water’s edge, I begin to make my way back to the house. The climb up the ridge is taxing, so I carefully grip the soil beneath me, feeling its warmth surge between my fingers. Finally, I see my younger cousins running around barefoot endlessly and I decide to join their game of soccer, but they all laugh at the awkwardness of the ball between my feet. They play, scream and chant, fully unaware of the world beyond this village or even Nairobi, but I cannot blame them. My iPhone fascinates them and they ask to see my braces, intently questioning how many “shillings” they cost. I open my mouth to satisfy their curiosity, but my grandmother calls out, and we all rush to see what she has made.

我在水边沉思了太久。意识到了这点,我便开始往家走。爬上山脊十分累人,于是我小心地抓牢脚下的泥土,感受着它在我指间的温暖。后来,我看到了赤着脚跑来跑去的表弟表妹,决定加入他们的足球赛,但他们都嘲笑我带球有多不协调。他们玩耍、叫喊、歌唱,完全不知道这个村庄之外或者内罗毕之外的世界。我不怪他们。我的iPhone令他们着迷,他们还要看我的牙套,目不转睛地问这花了多少“先令”。我张开嘴巴以满足他们的好奇心,但祖母叫我了,于是我们都赶忙回去看看她做了些什么。

When I return, the chapatis are neatly stacked on one another, golden-brown disks of sweet bread that are the completion of every Kenyan meal. Before my grandmother can ridicule me in a torrent of Kikuyu, I grab a chapati and escape to find a patch of silky grass, where I take my first bite. Each mouthful is a reminder that my time here will not last forever, and that my success or failure will become a defining example for my sister and relatives.

当我回到家时,薄煎饼已整齐地一个个摞好,金褐色盘子里盛着甜面包,这才是完整的肯尼亚餐。趁祖母还没来得及用吉库尤语连珠炮般地取笑我,我拿了一块薄煎饼就逃去寻找一块光滑的草地,在那里我才吃下了第一口。每一口都提醒着我,我在这里的时光不会是永远,而我的成功或失败将成为我的妹妹和亲戚们的决定性例证。

The rift between high school and college is wide, but it is one I must cross for those who have carried me to this point. The same hope that carried my parents over an ocean of uncertainty is now my fuel for the journey toward my future, and I go forward with the radical idea that I, too, can make it. Savoring each bite, I listen to the sound of neighbors calling out and children chasing a dog ridden with fleas, letting the cool heat cling to my skin.

高中和大学之间的鸿沟是巨大的,但是为了那些一路将我提携至此的人们,我必须越过。这个曾带领我父母跨越无常之海的希望,也是现在的我走向未来的动力。我将带着一个最基本的思想前进,那就是:我也能做到。我听着邻居们的呼喊和孩子们追赶着满是跳蚤的小狗,享受着每一刻,让那清凉附着于我的肌肤之上。

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