Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
"In Africa, when an old man dies, it's a library burning."
-Amadou Hampate Ba
During a recent village to a small village in Mauritania I was introduced to a dear friend of my friend in the United States. This man was returning from another village, walking on foot, and carrying a plastic bag filled with small strips of woven cloth. Intrigued, I asked if he made them. When he said yes, I asked if I could visit his house the following day to learn more about his work. His name is Amadou Diaw.
When I visited his house the next day, Amadou was apologetic. He didn't have time to set up the loom to show me and he didn't have much time to talk. He had much work to do and although he was welcoming and generous with his time, I knew that I was taking him away from all of the other tasks waiting for him. Amadou rolled out a large mat and invited me to sit. He brought out four large rice bags filled with his life's work- pieces of his loom, rolls of thread, and stacks of woven cloth already completed.
There are not enough weddings to enable Amadou to earn enough money to put food on the table and send his children to school. Amadou's love for his craft does not come before his responsibilities as the head of a large family. He must work all day to plant and harvest his crops, keep an eye on his herds of animals, as well as do everything else needed to make the household run smoothly.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Coincidentally, I was named after a different Delia song. This one was recorded by Blind Willie McTell many years ago. My parents liked the name and I have also learned love it. I am thankful for this gift from my parents. As a kid growing up, there were no other Delia's and I always felt like my different name made me different too. I am proud to have a different name but at the same time for the first time I am now enjoying having a name that is known and appreciated by everyone around me. It makes me feel like I belong here.
In the village where I visited last week the children sang the Deliya song all the time. It became my soundtrack. The words say, "Deliya, my Deliya." The name Deliya is a Fulani fable, a sort of cinderella story. I have asked many people to recite the story for me and it is always told almost the exact same way, from villages far and wide across Fouta Toro (the region of Senegal and Mauritania).
Listening to these little cuties singing the Deliya song is one of my happiest memories of my time in Mauritania.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Now I have a new dress to wear to ceremonies and important events. The kids insisted that we also have a little fun with the dress, staging my own "wedding" in the village. The pictures they took with my camera became a sensation and everyone kept asking me about my jombaajo (wedding). I told them that my husband never arrived!
I will treasure this dress for the rest of my life. I know that this gift will always make me think of everyone in the village and especially my amazing hosts.