Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Soap Making woman



We worked for some time together pleasantly in this manner until I started to fidget in my toubab way, not being used to sit on the floor. It was decided we would return tomorrow, barr further downpours, and tomorrow we will witness the making of the all important soap which removes the colour to create white lines on a black back ground. This is one of the main reasons I wanted to study with these old women, because I knew they use a soap made from potassium and shea butter to achieve this. The women in Djenné and the other bogolan makers of Mali normally use  bleach and I have steadfastly refused to do  that for Malimali’s bogolans, because it is a lazy way out and it is bad for the fabric. To tomorrow, inchallah, the soapmaking woman- another ancient friend of Assiata, - will burn the millet stalks which will produce the potassium from the ashes, if I am not wrong, before she mixes it with the shea butter... 
Oh, yes! And just imagine, instead I could  be sitting  in Ladbroke Grove... Hmmm....What was that ? going back? I must be out of my mind!

5 Comments:

Blogger Susan Scheid said...

I love this post. "until I started to fidget in my toubab way" had me laughing, you can be sure. THAT, I recognize. And then, at the end, you write the most perfect, most poignant thing of all: "Oh, yes! And just imagine, instead I could be sitting in Ladbroke Grove... Hmmm....What was that ? going back? I must be out of my mind!"

11:53 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Thank you Susan,
Well, you see how everything moves up and down like a see-saw here.It is either great or really difficult, but then it has always been like that..

1:20 AM  
Blogger David said...

Or maybe that's just you as well, dahling...kiss, kiss.

2:43 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

No? David, it really IS Africa! Ask anyone who has spent any time here: it is not like being anywhere else, and one becomes another person: for better or for worse...

7:13 PM  
Blogger lorey brown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:20 AM  

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