Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Language, Time, Singing

Life begins early in Niamey, just like in the rest of the world. Finally completely over my jet lag, I was able to get up this morning and seize the day. I took Fassely out on my back and we enjoyed the morning, just before the heat crept into the air, the sand, between our toes. We saw kids going off to school, kids not going off to school, selling various items by the roadside, from their straw huts. We saw many, many goats, always eating the trash, and Fassely’s favorite: the baby chicks.

And then I served as a translator, English to French, French to English all afternoon. This made me feel proud, showing Debbie (who arrived just last night) around this little city that I have now lived in for 9 days. I haven’t lost track of time, because time moves so slowly here, although not in a bad way. We passed the time with Fati again today. I understood and conversed with Fati for the first time today, almost fluently. Fati was adorned in gold, a sign that she is now married to a wealthy man. I offered Fati some of my own jewelry that I brought over to Niger for the purpose of giving it away. None of the jewelry, to Fati, signified wealth, although she did take a ring - green, black and silver - and a piece of turquoise on a silver string for her daughter. The ring fit on Fati’s delicate middle finger. She wears it proudly next her to Tuareg jewels. Fati now has a piece of me, the places I’ve been, with her. Debbie and I took Tuareg tea, two rounds today, the strongest and sweetest rounds, of what can be a five-round tradition. The tea starts off at its strongest and gets weaker by the round. The children finished up the grand finale.

Songs that have crossed my mind here:
Don’t Drink the Water by The Dave Matthews Band (mentioned previously)
The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia – changed to – The Night the Lights Went Out in Niamey
Have You Ever Seen the Rain by The Creedance Clearwater Revival – changed to – I’ve Never Seen the Rain
Put A Ring On It By Beyonce – changed to – Put a Diaper on It

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