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    Staying at Home Around a Board Game (1)

    Today, we have been self- confined for over a month. When I wake up, as I do every morning, I take a little walk on Twitter. Today I came across this tweet from the official account of the First Lady of Senegal, Marième Faye Sall. You can see on the post the sentence « Togg Leen Seen Keur » (stay home in wolof) followed by the hashtag #FaaxasCovid19 (#getoffcovid19). There are also three photos of the first lady, the president and one of their sons, dressed in casual clothes, playing Ludo, a popular board game in Senegal. The comments under this tweet are very diverse.

    Staying at Home Around a Board Game (2)

    Around the meal, I discussed this post (https://bit.ly/3eYutcd) with my family members, our perceptions and interpretations were just as diverse as what I had read in the comments. We did agree on one thing, however: to add "board games" to the list of activities we had drawn up to facilitate confinement. Finally, and after this interesting discussion around the bowl, we chose another game - monopoly, because the Ludo is limited to 4 players. From that day on, the confinement time seemed less long and less boring to us.

    Making Life Sustainable During Covid-19 (1)

    After more than two months of self-confinement, we went out on 10 May 2020 with the younger ones to buy plants. We went out with a purpose. We decided to set up a small garden in the courtyard of our house. The next few days were very exciting as we collected and transformed many objects that were lying around the house and used them to decorate our plants (tires, empty bottles, etc).

    The Prayers of the Talibés (2)

    yalna laa baay laate, dugal la ci poosam yobu la aldiana !

    yalna nga àjji màkka 

    yalna nga giseek seriñ tuuba yoomalxiyaam 

    yalna la borom bi bindal tuyaaba

    yalna nga amm ay seex 

    yalna nga tabbi ci teenu xaalis ñu lay gene ngay bañ 

     

    May God make Baye Lahat put you in his pocket and enter with you into Heaven.

    May God give you the grace to perform Hajj in Makkah

    May God make you meet Serigne Touba in the afterlife

    May God record this good deed for you...

    La Fête d'Aïd-el-Kébir

    La fête d'Aïd-el-Kébir ou la tabaski ou encore la fête des moutons est un événement très spécial au Mali.
    Spécifiquement au Nord du Mali où les moutons sont égorgés, grillés et toute une bonne ambiance autour de la viande.
    Unique à son genre.
     
    Cela ressert les liens sacrés du voisinage, de sang et de parenté ou de confession. C'est le moment le plus heureux de l'année où la modération se cherche.

    Cultivating Rice in Covid-19 Times

     COVID-19 is not the only challenge that common people across the world have been faced with. But there are places where this problem has been compounded due to other kinds of natural challenges felt locally. This has been particularly so in the state of Assam in India where annual flooding ravaged  lives and livelihood. The worst hit have been the ones settled in low lying flood prone zones across the state, making it simply impossible for many to engage in cultivation of the staple food crop, rice. 

    A Visit to the Market Place (1)

    This morning I was at the marketplace, after more than a week without going out. I was astonished by what I saw: almost everyone (adult, child, woman, man, young, old, buyer, seller, security guard...) had a mask. I was astonished because in social networks (Twitter, Facebook) I keep hearing about "the indiscipline of Senegalese who do not respect the barrier measures, especially the wearing of masks". I personally found it very responsible that everyone has a mask, with a few rare exceptions. Then I am aware that there are all the problems related to the quality of the mask and its use.

    A Visit to the Market Place (2)

    Maybe the people I met today are not asking themselves all these questions. The awareness messages just ask them to "wear" a mask. At the same time, the Minister of the Interior has issued an order on the wearing of masks and the police are punishing all those who do not respect the measure by making them pay a fine of between 3000 and 6000 CFA. One of my neighbors who goes to the market every day told me that she thinks it's a bit stupid to have to pay such sums when a mask costs between 100 and 300 CFA on each street corner.

    Konbaung Dynasty and Luntaya Acheik

    Luntaya acheik originated in Konbaung dynasty (1752-1885) and could be worn only by kings and queens. If this new fabric was presented respectfully to the king and queen, a prize would be awarded to the giver. Commoners were not allowed to wear a new one but it could worn the king’s hand-me-downs which is awarded to the outstanding person in the service of the king.

    Chatting in the Street Under My Window (2)

    One hears in turn two women in their sixties talking in Fulani about the case of covid19 detected the day before 600m from our home, two girls around 8 and 14 years old complaining about the decision of the President of the Republic to reopen schools and a male voice on the telephone, that of a teacher who, after three months' absence, is back to go back to school tomorrow morning.

    Chatting in the Street Under My Window (1)

    It is on this street, which is on the right side of my house, that the window of my room opens. Every morning when I wake up, I look through it mechanically, even if I can't see anything out of the ordinary. It's a quiet street and not very busy, especially in the morning. The house with the mustard-yellow door is one of the oldest in the neighborhood: it was built in the 1970s by a shopkeeper from Gandiol in northern Senegal. The bricks with decorative motifs that were used to build the wall are typical of this period and are now only seen on very old buildings.

    Songhay Cowhide Patterns (1)

    In Gao and vicinity, it is common to hear announcements of lost cattle on local radio. To be useful, the message must contain fairly precise descriptions. For example, let’s take a red cow – in Songhay, haw (cow), ciray (red). To be sure, the phrase haw ciray is correct, as it literally means “red cow”. Then, why does such a description amuse some villagers just a few kilometres away from town?

    Songhay Cowhide Patterns (2)

    The terminology for cowhide patterns remedies this imprecision. One can say that it is a photographic – chromatic thumbnail – index to the expanded spectrum of combinations.  The best way to gauge its efficiency is to compare standard patterns. Our main informant, an experienced herdsman, estimates that he can recognize up to 120 patterns, but the full count may come close to 150. For the most part, these names are originally borrowed from Fulfulde, the language of the traditionally herding Fulbe (Fula).

    Names of rice mainly grown in Rakhine under Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) from 1962-1988

    Ma Mya Than, 58 years old, is a middle class Rakhine (Arakanese) lady who lives in Buthidaung, a town in northern Rakhine. She used to sell various varieties of rice. Rakhine, situated on the western coast of Myanmar, is rich with natural resources including fish, timber, oil and gas. According to her, although Rakhine exported many acres of rice under Burmese Socialist Programme Party for years, there were around five types of rice that farmers in Rakhine mainly grew.

    Unusual terms used to refer rice under BSPP

    There existed unusual terms used to refer certain types of rice during the BSPP government. Here are three examples. U Myo Win Than is a 55 years old Burmese man who used to live in Myittha, Kyaukse district, Mandalay.

    He explained that “Yar Kyaw Sa Par” refers to the variety which exceeds a hundred tinns (Burmese unit of volume measurement that equals to 40.9148 L) per acre when harvested.

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