in mali: a collection

the sky yesterday was dirty white and the air felt heavy and physical, like the whoosh of heat on your cheeks when you open a hot oven. except it was constant. in the afternoon the water comes out of the cold tap hot and everyone stays inside. the buildings are squat and square. mangoes the size of your head on every corner; on every corner people sitting on plastic woven deck chairs pouring tea from one pot to another, and back again, chatting and pouring, a tiny charcoal stove burning to the side.

the worst thing you can say to a Malian is, "You are a bean-eater." They do not like farting.

Some favourite words in Bamabara (and their literal meanings)...
aeroplane = "sana kuru" (a flying canoe)
green = "bin kene" (the colour of fresh herbs)
bicycle = "nege so" (iron horse)
a maid/houseworker = barakaden (child worker!)

A note to the US Ambassador to Mali:
the american embassy here is a fortress and no one, citizen or non, is allowed in except on Thursdays. it makes me wonder what the real purpose of such an embassy is? are there oompaloompas in there making long-range chocolate bombs to send into the Sahara?


traca de broon said...

What are you up to in Mali?

I love the language lesson and will be adopting "nege so" into my lexicon. Looks like we'll be in Botswana in January--how's your Setswana?

Grendel said...

Nice to see you still got it! (your writing style)

There is something so fantastic about that picture, too. The blur is exactly perfect to show aliveness and movement.

Too bad Mali is so very, very far away from Botswana.