A Neglected Miracle

Ezra Azra


Copyright 2023 by Ezra Azra

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by Cole Keister:

Photo by Sylvia Szekely on UnsplashPhoto

by Cole Keister:


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Market Village is a place somewhere in Africa. I knew of it because, from when I was a child, and up to my twenty-ninth birthday, I visited Market Village once a year in the company of my equals: other ordinary, exceptionally nondescript individuals.

I never found out why the territory was named Market Village, and by whom. There was neither a market nor a village. There was no communal buying and selling anywhere. The best answer I have come up with is that whoever named it, was being facetious about a piece of real estate that was negligibly more useful economically than a desert.

The villagers called themselves natives. The geography of the area was mostly desert. There was no rain. There were no rivers. There was no wind.

At night, every night, the sky was ablaze with stars. So many, many stars, it seemed their weight made the sky bend down close enough to be touched. In all my years in Market Village, I never saw a moon, nighttime or day.

There were many small lakes, every one fed by springs; every one we could run around its entire perimeter in less than an hour. I say an hour, in retrospect. Onsite in those days nobody had a watch to monitor the time. We had fun running races along the perimeters of lakes. Greatest fun was dunking after the race in warm lake water.

The natives did not plant anything. Their food was from the many stunted fruit trees that grew in the vicinity of the lakes. All the fruit were berry-like. From what I remember, the berries on a tree were never exactly the same throughout the year.

Long after I had left and become an adult, I wondered at there being fruit on those trees all year round. I have not heard or read an explanation of the presence of those many fruit trees. The reason for their stunted growth was obvious: not enough water. But fruit? There was no wind, no animals, no other obvious ways to bring about pollination. There was an amazing study there waiting for a botanist.

The natives lived in small homes they constructed with wood from the fruit trees that grew around the lakes. There were the fruit trees only. No other kind of tree grew in Market Village. No weeds. No grass.

Trees were partially cut to provide wood for homes. The homes were few because the natives had to wait years for a partially-cut tree to grow enough again in order to provide the wood for houses.

Modern industry ignored Market Village because none had discovered how to exploit the territory for profit, financially.

When, if, I become a billionaire, I will return and buy all of Market Village and live there. My first reason, and my only reason most of the time, would be the quality of the windless air. The air was so freshly sweet, we children would gulp it in.

There was a geographic idiosyncrasy about Market Village. Earth tremors all year round. That's all they always were; just tremors. The ground did not break or quake. We kids had a lot of fun standing on those trembling spots. Our singing there had natural vibrato.

It was only in the twentieth century when aerial photographs and calculations by satellites were possible from miles above in the atmosphere, that a credible explanation has been provided for the existence of the Market Village territory.

Market Village is an island in a desert; the only one of its kind. It is a circular piece of earth-and-rock floating in a hole. In the hole, Market Village fits loosely because there is a practically bottomless ravine all round it. For its whole perimeter, the width of the ravine is not stable anywhere; sometimes a few steps wide; sometimes much, much wider.

Once a year, Market Village shifts asymmetrically for a stretch of it about a mile long to make contact with the surrounding mainland. This contact lasts about two days at a time. Nobody could predict by calculation where these contacts would be from year to year.

It was these times of mainland contact that ordinary people, mostly poor people like us, crossed over and walked onto Market Village territory.

The natives were friendly. They always greeted us as if we were too long-absent family members. They would lead us to the fruit trees. The areas were perfectly safe because birds were the only wild animals in Market Village. The birds did not stay overnight.

We never met children; only persons who looked like teenagers, playful and fun loving.

I did not see adults. Most of us crossed over to play games and to eat fruit. The natives were eager to play games, and to feed us.

The happiest game we played was hide-and-seek. Since we never played indoors, there were only a few places we could hide in the wild desert vegetation outdoors. Nonetheless, hide-and-seek was our favourite because the natives had chameleon-like abilities to camouflage themselves. We modified the game to make the natives the hiders most of the time. When we had to hide, they seemed to have difficulty finding us. To this day, I suspect they were pretending to have so much difficulty finding us. I did not share my suspicions with others at that time because I was ashamed of not trusting the native people who were so kind to us.

We had to give up on ball games. In hand-ball games the natives could not throw a ball less than speeds that hurt when we caught their throws.

At kick-ball, they were hopeless. We won every game. They would be eager to play, but when they lost the first game, they would be too depressed to play another for the next few hours. We tried to not play kick-ball, but, curiously, they insisted, although they lost every time. There was almost passion in their attempts to learn to kick the ball accurately.

Another aspect of the games we played that we liked immensely, was that the natives, like us, never wore footwear.

In the perennial high temperatures, swimming in the shallow small lakes was another favourite. Swimming was allowed in only certain lakes because the lakes were the only source of drinking water in Market Village.

To my knowledge, no native crossed over to the mainland.

I do not remember the natives having a leader. The one who came the nearest to being in charge was named Regina Fanti. We seldomly saw her outdoors. Indoors, she directed all activities.

The most exciting information came in the 1980s. Some scientists surmised that Market Village is an object, perhaps a meteor, that plunged into the Earth, thousands and thousands of years ago. The widespread desert features support this proposal inasmuch as natural objects from outer space crashing into Earth, are sometimes barren hard rock or metal-bearing ore. Both kinds do not favour natural, wild, vegetative growth.

When the presence of the natives is factored in, that object from outer space could very well have been a spacecraft in which they arrived.

The whole of natural humanoid Africa is negroid, except Market Village. The hair on Market Village natives is silky straight, and black. At the beginning, they wore no clothes; the constant year-round desert dry and high temperatures made nakedness preferable. By the time I left in 1967, they were beginning to wear some items; in their climate, a bad habit they picked up from us poor but highly civilized persons.

I do not remember finding evidence that the Market Village natives could read or write. I do not remember ever seeing any printed material around.

I regret never having returned to visit. None of the older few persons I speak to in my hometown in Africa nowadays, knows about Market Village.

Very little world-wide is known about the natives of Market Village. Nobody seemed to care. There is no mention of the place on the Internet, or in any publication. This story you are reading is the first and only and lengthiest account of Market Village.

It will be sad, even if a sadness unknown at the time, when that spacecraft lifts off from its bottomless hole, and leaves Earth.

Infinitely sadder if it has already left. 

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