Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Aduna Ko Ni (the world is this)

The size of her brown eyes makes her beautiful.
Large and round.
Always intently focused on the person she is talking to.
I won't ever forget the way her eyes looked at me the morning she lost her baby.
They were still, frozen, hanging onto the words about to come from my mouth.
In those brown eyes I saw the panic and sorrow I was reflecting upon her.
Where is my baby?
Your baby is dead.
Water exploded out of the open-welled eyes.
We sobbed.
She chanted loudly, "o my mother, o my father help me now, my baby's gone, o Allah help me now."
An old woman in the corner of the hospital approaced us from the bed she sat on in observance.
"Be quiet my child, be quiet, the world is this, you are young you will have more, even I have lost many children. Be quiet now aduna ko ni."

All good things must come to an end, even Ramadan

Evening brought a starless dark. I walked to the "shop" in Banni to buy a candle for reading later. I was rushing because it was almost prayer call and time to break the days fast with tea and bread. I wished peace upon Kemo, the vendor, and headed back to the compound. What I saw as I rounded the corner stopped me as forcefully as an invisible wall. A tingle electricuted my entire body and left me smiling dumbfoundedly at the power in that moment
Everyone, all ages, was standing outside facing west. With their backs towards Mecca they pointed simultaneously at the sky. It resembled a scene from an alien invader movie or a UFO sighting. I ran up to Baba and asked, what is it?
It's the moon, was his reply.
There it was, the tiniest sliver of the moon for the first time in a month and the symbol of the end of Ramadan. Cheering broke out as children started playing bottles and bowls for drums. A light cloud of dust lingered around the excitement of shuffling feet and Alieu Jallow's voice beckoned "Allah akbaru" through the village from his place at the prayer house.
Families retreated to their compounds to break fast for the first time since before sunrise. There was a sense of relief in the air; tommorow we could eat lunch.