alright family and friends. before i delve into a series of posts about my
time living with an african muslim family.
i wil tell you that a lot of these are journal entries- which means
they were recorded at that precise moment in time-
thus making the information a lot more raw,
which i hope can make the stories i little bit more picturesque.
i will highlight things in each post.. which means they are
important to remember, so jot down these names and
remember them in your prayers. thank you all :)
It's barely passed 10 am and I feel like I have been up forever, but that could be because I have already been up for 5 hours. I slept zilch. Most likely nerves & the adjustment to a new environment. I got up at 5 am.
Kadidia (my roommate, who is Madame Djeneba’s younger sister, although she is still quite old) was already up thank God because I really had to go to the bathroom...picking up on the fact that I was barely awake and needed a little bit of guidance in this unfamiliar territory, she grasps my hand and takes me to this area right behind the kitchen. I walk into this small room with stained tile flooring and concrete walls and there lay before me the throne of stench. I attempt to hold myself over this hole to relieve my bladder, as I hold my breath trying not to breath in the awful stench. I am so tired but all I can really think about is what is going to happen my first day here at the house. I finish up, thank God I was awake enough to remember to bring toilet paper, because Africans use their left hand to use to the bathroom, and we head back to our room.
I decide, since I am already awake and can’t imagine trying to catch some sleep now, to go ahead and do my devotions. I go into the connected room and sit down to begin some much needed Jesus time. About half way through, Kadidia, comes in and begins laying our her mat & dressing in proper attire for Muslim prayer. As she began her ritualistic motions, I couldn’t hold back the bottle of emotions and began to cry.
I became overwhelmed. Overwhelmed of the reality that I was here praying to the true God while right beside me I hear the chant of fake, empty hope to a religion that is all built on lies. Shortly following we both finish up. I look over to catch her watching me and in the most gentle, almost sad, voice she says my (Malian) name ‘Ami.’ and asks me in Bambara if I would like a tissue. I accepted of course. She then took me (right outside of our room) to go wash my face (with a plastic teakettle full of water) and brush my teeth. At this point I still had no idea where I would be cleaning myself so I just decided to not worry about it.
I decide to check out the rest of the courtyard and walk into a small room connected to ‘the hole’. I walk in to find one of the worker girls, DJeneba. I had no idea how to say can I help you..so I improvised and told her I was looking for work. (if you understood Bambara you would have laughed at my request). She let me help her mix this grain that I assumed was going to be our breakfast, but then motions me to go out and wash. Obviously I must have smelt. I took a short bucket bath (in the same room as the deep dark hole) and then go out in front of the house to go sit with Kadidia. We sit out there for a little while watching the traffic. You have to remember this is my first day here so we are all still trying to figure each other out.
Madame comes out, greets us and motions us to come and eat (na dumini ke). We set up the a few wired chairs and plant ourselves right outside of our room. The youngest worker, Sali, brings me a bowl of the soupy grain stuff, called monie. Accompanied with the grain was these lovely little sweet rice pockets served with some hot tea. Eating and chatting, eating and chatting. My Bambara is taking me only a little ways, so decide to grab something concrete that can stir up conversation as well as use vocabulary I am quite familiar with. I slip into my room quickly to grab some family photos. I bring out the pictures and introduce them informally to my family. They were delighted that I was revealing elements of me to them- very special elements.
Breakfast and conversation ended & I was then told to accompany Fatim (Madame’s daughter-in-law) to the market. We dash off on a moto and zip through all the cracks of the market to buy that days cooking ingredients. By the time we arrive back at the house it still has not even reached 10 am. Within 5 minutes of our arrival, I then am sent off with Sali to purchase coal. She empties the bag of food that we just bought and we take it across the street to the mound of coal. Fill the bag, pay the man, and walk back to house, which now brings me to this point of time.. A little past 10 and I am beginning to cut tomatoes in attempt to assist in cooking peanut sauce (tigadege)....