however, last night’s view was better.
all the photos of this night are not by you. they’re by whoever happened to be holding your camera.
or you were in the living room splitting up equal amounts of millet grains into cups filled with fermented milk, creme fraiche, sugar, fromage blanc, and vanilla seeds in an attempt recreate a malian dessert called dɛgɛ.
it’s nice when people take your camera because you sometimes forget what you look like.
it’s a nice change to see other’s perspectives in your camera.
and it’s always fun to see what surprises people like to leave as well.
they are and aren’t the same place. a different place.
because in mali, one often says to guests:
i bora i ka so, i nana i ka so.
you’ve left your home, you’ve arrived at your home.
it’s the first thing you were greeted with on the first day when you arrived in mali last year. “you all have left home (the USA) but you all have arrived home (mali)”
it’s a phrase that comforts you.
you left home (texas) to arrive home (bamako) to leave home again (sokourani) to arrive home (paris).
it’s a process that will repeat until who knows when. you, just like all your friends, are curious to see where you will go in just a few months.
the only thing you can tell them is, home. because everywhere you go, you’re able to make it home thanks to friends you already have and new friends you make.
don’t ever think that bambara is a useless language. because it is not. how else can you be adopted by malians abroad within minutes?
a few words of bambara to a complete stranger – a hello, a greeting, a joke, a blessing, and you are instantly part of their family. you are instantly taken care of. you are instantly home.
tiga dɛgɛ na, furanto, malo, jaba, gɔyɔ, koko, michi sɔgɔ, jɛgɛ sɔgɔ… the moment you taste a malian women’s cooking you completely forget you’re in france.
a ka di de kosɛbɛ! (it’s very delicious!) is all you can say between bites of rice and peanut sauce.
your bambara improves a bit as you learn that nanaye means mint. your village didn’t put mint in their tea so you never learned that word.
i ni ce kosɛbɛ! (thank you very much) is how you end your malian lunch.
specifically, chocolate cake that your favorite spaniard baked for the dinner party last night but was sadly forgotten about. oops! sorry. but you promise it will still be enjoyed – just by less people.
unless it somehow remains uneaten until the next dinner party – which is unlikely.