Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Aissata’s vestibule

Although Aissata does not work any more, she agreed to help us, and we worked together this morning in her mud vestibule, with the village population popping their heads in the doorway and chatting for a moment or two. I was practising my Bambara, sitting on the floor next to Aissata who was explaining the design to me. ‘This is the skeleton of the big snake’, she explained. There appears to be a large type of snake in this area, which I have never come across, alhamdilullah.’ Have you ever seen one?’ I wanted to know. ‘Yes, of course’,  Aissata replied, ‘and I have eaten them too. They are very good to eat’. I believe she is talking about a boa constrictor, because she said it kills by squeezing its victim. I looked at her old light blue printed cotton dress, which had little medallions on it with the inscription : ‘Notre Dame de l’Assumption, Priez pour nous’.  I was quite pleased and surprised  to meet a fellow Christian, but I thought I would ask just to make sure: “E ye Chretien ye Wa?’ She looked at me without comprehending and I was, as usual , disappointed that noone ever understands my Bambara, even when I speak it correctly. But this time it was not my Bambara that was at fault. She said something  that I didn’t understand to Dembele, and he laughed: ‘Sophie, she does not know what a Christian is!”


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