All posts tagged: Bambara

what’s to eat #2

A mid-afternoon office snack of Le popcorn or, as it’s known in Bambara, kabani (lit. corn-little), dusted with an addictive combination of powdered milk and sugar. The dried milk, once saturated by your salivary glands, renders the popcorn creamy and sweet in your mouth. It works, it really works. Enjoyed with coffee and tea.

on a funeral

There was a funeral to attend, of a well-known and well-loved gentleman from the North. I was set to go with hair wrapped up, sporting a red and gold djellaba. Outside the home of the recently deceased, men mingled on overlapping carpets under a tent set in the road, some waiting to ride to the cemetery, where men alone are permitted. I headed inside the adjacent house to join the women, whose task it is to mourn and comfort the newly widowed wife. The front hall was lined with somber women seated on chairs. I gave a weak greeting, Bon soir, and the name of the person I hoped to find. A few hands pointed through a doorway and down another hallway. I passed through and found more women: on the floor, on carpets, on woven mats, on chairs, standing. I repeated the name of my inviter. They pointed up the stairs. I climbed up and, at the landing, I looked down over a railing into the courtyard: every square inch was packed with women, …

on mud mosques

Yesterday: 1.5-hour trip to Tadianabougou. Arrived during a meeting between village chief, village boutique owner, enthusiastic farmer, company reps, and a few chickens. They sat in an easy circle under a most perfect tree–the kind that reaches out wide to offer shade, a good climb, and enchanting protection. Just the right tree for an important meeting. The chief wore a bright salmon-colored frock and spoke little. He sat on an old, low chair with worn plastic straps conspiring to be a seat; by the end of the meetings, the straps had parted beneath him and he slowly sunk down until his bum was nearly on the ground, legs still propped up by the chair frame. I introduced myself, and took tea. After the meetings I asked whether I could take a photograph of the village mosque, made of dirt, mud, clay. Someone asked the chief in a quick string of Bambara, he replied, and it was proclaimed in French: The village chief has authorized you to take a photograph of the mosque. Thank you, merci, iniche. …

on hello in Bamako

Different Bambara greetings for distinct times of day. Phonetically: Ee nee sogoma for morning Ee nee kle for 12-2pm Ee nu la for 2-dusk Ee nee shu for nighttime This is merely the beginning: full greetings are a thorough volley of, by my count, 4-7 calls and responses per person. I practice…slow and steady wins something, maybe a grand prize of satisfaction. Today: I stopped for breakfast (croissants, pains aux raisins, juice) at café Le Relax en route to office. I headed to the village of Dialakoroba for market day, involving 40 or so surrounding villages. Came home, ate lunch (Rice! Lamb! Yucca! Orange squashy thing! A really really hot pepper!), promptly fell asleep for several hours. The evening holds promise of more sleep, and tomorrow is ripe with the possibility of a swim. *Photo of n’ga so, or my home.