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Songhay cowhide patterns: Part 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).

Songhay cowhide patterns: Part 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?

Chatting in the street under my window: Part 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.

Chatting in the street under my window: Part 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.

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...

Hunger: "We want rice, we don't want cash!"

This haiku encapsulates my impression of the debate titled 'Cash or kind transfer? The regional, national and global dimensions of revamping the Public Distribution System' facilitated by Augustin Brutus, a scholar activist (Intercultural Network for Development and Peace) and post-doctoral scholar at IFP, Nithya Joseph, at the Pondicherry workshop.  The participants included Sudha Sundaraman, of the AIDWA (All Democratic Women's Association) and members of the local women's group SAMAM (Samam Makalir Suyasarbu Iyakkam).

Taking the migrants home: Part 3

“These are people who have come to work in Bangalore. Once there is employment, normalcy will get established… so why go back then? Those who still want to go back can do so using their own vehicle,” said N Manjunath Prasad, nodal officer for inter-state travel from Karnataka. 

The CM of Karanataka BS Yediyurappa met prominent builders and real estate firms who reportedly expressed concern over the mass exodus of labourers on 5 May.

Taking the migrants home: Part 2

Shramik Special trains were started to take home lakhs of stranded migrant labourers and their families to their hometown. Many of them have run of out of money and food because of the restrictions imposed to combat the Covid 19. The relief mesaures have been ill planned. Those coming from Surat in Gujarat have alleged that they were charged Rs 800 against a ticket with a printed cost of Rs 630. The labourers said they had no choice but to pay the money if they wanted to return. 

Covid 19: Reflections from Gao, Mali 1

Le Mali à l'instar des autres pays est touché par la pandémie Covid 19. Des mesures sont prises: le lavage des mains au savon, un respect de la distanciation d'au moins un mètre, l'utilisation du gel et un couvre-feu instauré de 21h à 05 h du matin. À Gao, comme partout la population est consciente de ce fléau et certaines organisations ont fermé et d'autres travaillent timidement.
 

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