Africa is Retro

OK, Lovely and visually oriented friends, I am unfortunately going to give up on pictures again today. I will try one more time, but my American impatience would take months and months of Africa to cure.

I have this friend who lives in Mali. He’s a Canadian, Linnex geek, festival traveling, catholic. My favorite people are the ones who defy catagories.  We had this plan once to make Tee-shirts that say “Africa is Retro” It is the type of joke that makes sense when your here and is confusing or politically incorrect even at home. But any international ex-pat or person living in Africa would agree, that this is a time warp. The weirdest things are easy and the weirdest things are difficult. Example today:

I pulled a move that I never seem to learn not to do. I padlocked my key into my room. As the lock clicked, it came to me. Arg! I pounded the door. I stormed to a  friend who helped me fix my grinder. “Can you do the thing with wire to open locks” I demanded  ” No.” “What should I do?” I demanded again, after telling him my story. “Go to the Solderer.” He will break it. He said, and then lead me there. “Oui, se possible,” said the Solderer, and came with is to my house. I pointed at the lock, red faced. “It was 4000 CFA!” I sayed. “Its the best lock in town! I don’t want to break it!!” They agreed that would be a waist of money. So, they chopped up the door, around the lock. I went in and got the key. “Now we need to fix the door” they said. The man lifted the door off the hinges and carried it away on his head. I sat in the doorway. This would cost a fortune! It will take days! The man walked back 10 minuted later, having Saudered the door back together. He asked for 1000 CFA. That’s two dollers. I got a kick out of that one. Africa is its own type of Retro. Bright colors, certainly. But mostly it is just difficult to get things and easy to fix things. That is extrememly unamerican, and un-21century consumer as well. Last night I was buying music from a guy. He has a computer, and gets his money by putting music on peoples phones. I now have a lot of African music. 50Gigs of it. Pretty sweet. But he shares a kiosk with another guy. This guys job was to break cell phones open, put new parts in, and burn the cellphones back together with a lighter. Classic.

While I was working yesterday I met a best friend. Rilena is about 4. I was sitting on my doorstep, working in wax. “Je vuex ede?” She said to me she had crept up like a mouse. “I want to help you?” Little artists are special beings, and around here, im not goung to lie, I lothe the parenting style as far as nurturing creativity is concerned. I got her a work board and some wax. she pretty much took care of herself, and attracted two other little kids. We were all working away when her mom pulled her out by the arm. I told her she was a “Grand artiste” and she should come back soon. she smiled at me. I am going to get her little figure bronzed. I hope she comes tomorrow


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One response to “Africa is Retro

  1. karen,susan,kajal,gabe

    hey maria
    i didnt realize u had started writing your blog again. i did know u left the island. next time u r here, lets get together for sure!
    your situation in w africa sounds much better this year than last year. your mom was over a few days ago to tell us all about it. i’m glad u have a place to live–but padlock keys need to be strung on a string around your neck, silly girl!’
    i truly enjoy your stories about wax and bronze and casting and raku.. i love that stuff. practiced for many years in the late 60’s and early 70’s. its a magical way to spend time and an awesome “real” handfull of beauty when its completed
    found tofu! bravo
    not too cold here – i dont think we will have snow in december.
    gabe is anxious for santa to arrive. we celebrate the solstice, so santa will be here tuesday nite.
    be safe, make wise choices and have the time of your life

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