Saturday, 7 August 2010

Moments in Mali (cont.)

One hot afternoon, I was hanging out with the guys in “the group” in their normal hangout—the straw structure in the main square of Djenne facing the large mud Mosque when Papice saw a girl walking by. Adama yelled out and Papice quickly caught up with her. They stood exchanging some words, while the other guys eagerly looked on. Then he left while she waited and moments later he reappeared with his moto and she got on the back. All the guys hanging out in their straw hangout cheered and clapped. A few minutes later, he came back with a sheepish grin on his face as he told us her feet were hurting and she needed a ride.
…oh sweet romance…

Day 12 in Djenne: Usually when I leave all the kids yell out Toubab and sometimes it’s endearing, but sometimes not so much. But, once as I was leaving, three girls that live near the Residence Tapama yelled out “Rozina”. And then the next day, as I was sitting in the courtyard of Tapama where the little kids come to draw water from the well, a little girl Aminata and a boy were busy drawing water that they didn’t notice me at first. Then Aminata looked up and waved and gave me one of her cute smiles. She and the boy exchanged some words, presumably in Bambara and she said something with Rozina in the sentence. It made me smile.

I descended the staircase of the home of the woman I had just interviewed. I ran into a friend named Mohammed 5. He was with another Malian and 2 toubabs. I shook hands with Mohammed 5 and greeted the others in French. They were on their way to Chez Baba a small restaurant in Djenne. I decided to join them. It turned out that one of the guys was American and the other British. The American is from Batavia, IL (about 10 minutes from where I live in the States). It also turned out that we both ran cross-country in high school, so we were definitely at the same meets, probably at Leroy oaks and we both went to U of I, where we probably took some common classes. And we meet in Djenne, Mali.
Love chance encounters…

I was sitting on a bench next to four little girls sharing couscous, while waiting for my friend. The girls turned to me, starting asking me my name and ca va? Then they came closer and cute little Djenaba touched my hair and amid her Bambara I heard her say “mesh” (in reference to my hair). I replied saying, “C’est pas mesh. C’est le vrai cheveux” … “It’s not mesh. It’s real hair,” to which they all gasped and started touching my hair, never having seen braids as long as mine not made of mesh. Then they each took a section and further braided the braids. The whole event was quite precious.

No comments:

Post a Comment