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.← The Introduction to the Life and Times of Bougourie Diarra The Homestay →