Sunday, May 28, 2006

When this is all over

Drum circle
Originally uploaded by mchughtie.
Am I going to remember old ladies blowing snot rockets into the bushes as I greet them in passing on the dirty road? What about little girls in frilly white dresses, proudly showing me the sheep guts they were given to play with after the slaughter? My neighbor antagonizing her pet monkey, and then letting it loose to terrorize small children? Teachers announcing things like, "that boy's a lunatic and that girl is dumb" when i walk in the classroom? Pickup lines such as "I love you boss lady. How is the beautiful day?" Baby boys with eyebrows drawn on them, a bucketfull of hairweaves sitting outside the shop, my colleagues slugging back water from old motor oil containers, piles of dried fish for sale, old men who can barely see sputtering through their two teeth that I am their wife, assuring me of their strength? Who knows, when this is done, if it won't have all seemed like some kind of alternate life, me cast in the wrong role, but loving it all the same.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

If life could imitate school

Mariama Fula
Originally uploaded by mchughtie.
I wish everyone in my village would wear a name tag for one week. I know it shouldn't be hard to remember them since there are only about five names, but that's deceptively simple I'm afraid. Sure, every compound has a Mariama, a Fatou, a Lamin, an Isatou, so there's a statistical likelihood of simply guessing correctly, but having some written thing pinned to them to blaze into my memory would make a lot of sense. And why can't we queue up at the pump so I know when it's my turn to get water? The ambiguity of a system where why you are fetching the water, who you are, and when you arrrived at the pump all factor into to when it is actually your turn is confusing. I guess some things are left for me to figure out, and to keep asking, long after I feel like I should know. I guess I either have to admit I don't know peoples' names, or keep saying, "yes, hi...." to passersby, and act clueless when I bring my bucket forward lest someone thinks I'm intentionally cutting them. We'll see just how long one gets away with being the unknowing guest.