as i am.

"…but soil is a refuge for dispersed seeds."

   

The Snapshot

I sit in the small sliver of shade that my house provides as an escape from the midday sun. Six boys play unsupervised to my right, ranging in age from two to eight. They alternate between rough housing, actually fighting, yelling, and crying. Destruction of property comes up from times to time as well.

The two women in the compound are too busy washing clothes to focus too much on these boys. And instinctively, they gravitate to the side of the compound where no one is home. Except me.

I sit here, silent, ghost-like, observing. My white skin singling me out, but also my lack of language ability preventing me from imposing order, despite my age. The older boys alternate between sitting next to me and attempting to keep the younger ones in order. If only I could talk about more than names and greetings with them. What fun we could have.

Diri drums on an empty condensed milk can as Salifu dances in the dirt. His grin is wide, all his teeth exposed as he shows off for his brothers and cousins. I observe in silence, the constant drumming leaving me without even my thoughts. A new song calls for a new drum: an old shell oil jug now used for storing water. Salifu breaks it down, his bare feet kicking up dust as he goes.

Suddenly, one of the older boys bursts into the compound, a dead bird hanging limp between his finger tips, his slingshot securely slug over his shoulder. The drumming stops, and one by one the boys scamper across the compound in fascination.

I am left in the shade of the house, welcoming the abrupt silence, and content t be once again with my thoughts.

   

3 Responses to The Snapshot

  1. Jack Wheeler says:

    I love reading these stories. Snapshot is an excellent word… just a glimpse into your world. I think of you a lot!

  2. Kris Wheeler says:

    You take me right into your world. Thanks! It sounds completely consuming and at the same time spacious and unpressured – except for the push to be able to speak! I’m guessing that will come soon enough. Here we’ve got horizontal sleet, sudden sun breaks and thunder. Jake and Simon (my cats) don’t even want to venture out. But daffodils and tulips are pushing their way up in the midst of this harsh chill.

  3. jean wheeler says:

    I almost feel like I am there except if I look out the window to the two feet of snow in my yard. Your writing and descriptions are exceptional. There are 8 to 10 deer that walk by my house each evening going to eat at a neighbor who feeds them…marvelous sight. Keep up the logs, they are priceless.

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  • About Me:

    I am a Peace Corps Volunteer working in Mali for two years promoting sustainable agriculture and environment development.

  • Address in Mali:

    Christina Scheller
    B.P. 02
    San, Mali
    WEST AFRICA

    Click here for tips and information on sending letters and packages.

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  • What I’m Reading

    King Leopold's Ghost - Adam Hochschild
  • What I’ve Read

    High Tide in Tucsan - Barbara Kingsolver All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren Half the Sky - Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn Prodigal Summer - Barbara Kingsolver Dirt: The Erosion of Civilization - David R. Montgomery Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee The Education of Little Tree - Forrest Carter The Rodale Book of Composting Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling The Lacuna - Barbara Kingsolver The History of the House of Representatives - Robert Remini East of Eden - John Steinbeck Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin The Imperial Cruise - James Bradley