Monday, May 19, 2008

Morning circuit

Teen girls visiting Jessica's compound, in the shade of the hangar

I have a common "circuit" that I walk most mornings. I visit a few women at their homes almost every day, people I feel particularly drawn to
for one reason or another. There is Fati and her daughter Sahara, both of whom I adore. I came across them by chance the first time I visited the village in February; I had walked to the edge of the village and was trying to meet as many people as I could handle. As soon as I walked into their compound and saw them, I knew we would be friends. Fati is probably in her 40s; Sahara is in her teens, and they find it hilarious and wonderful that I am here. No matter what, I know I can go there and and smile with them. I also visit Karima, because she seems like a sort of powerful matriarch-type person; she sells goro nuts (kola nuts to you?) .

To provide a little conte
xt to all of this: under Islamic law a man can have up to four wives. I believe most, if not all, men in my village have two or more wives. During day time, most women (ages17+) are within the family compound, working. Each woman has her own hut for her and her kids. Younger girls and teen girls leave frequently throughout the day to get water-you'll always see them coming and going-but for the most part you won't see women hanging out in public spaces. In the hottest part of the day, the women do congregate with their friends in the shade for a few hours, but really they are without much "free time."

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