Made it to Ouagadougou

I am in Africa again. Learning how to move through this place without rigidity. I used to get really angry here, sometimes I still do, but I try to just roll with the differences. I am in a new neighborhood now, but still work at the same foundery. It is a half hour walk, but takes me easily 2 hours, because on the way there are so many people who want to chat. It is the opposite of France. If I didn’t have my audio recording booth set up in France, I could go a whole day without talking to anyone. Here, you must shake hands with everyone, everywhere, share your food with anyone in a ten foot radious, and check in on friends every day. To spend time here, I must submit to it. My western mind is calculating- I should be at the foundery all day every day, I am only here for 6 weeks, but the world here doesn’t allow for the work ethic of there to exist. If it isn’t the incredible importance of socializing, it is the rain, or someone is sick, or not enough mony to buy the right tools, or..or.or.

I am going to rebuild my audio recording sculpture. I am making it into its own suitcase, by covering the back with leather. And making it foldable. The moment I came back, I remembered the intensity of voodoo and magic and fetishes and realized that here, a doll that you listen to and talk to will have a completely different meaning. I will continue the project, but for the most part, without the sculpture. Aaagh, I had thought that this project would be more universal. The idea behind it is, but the presentation needs to be adapted to different environments. I look forward to giving the sculpture to a leather worker and seeing what they can do with it.

A friend from the foundery, Malic, died a few months ago. I am slightly shocked, because he was strong and in his mid thirties. He just got sick and died.

Yesterday, while walking from the foundery to go get lunch, I saw a Tuareg who looked strangely familiar. We both stopped, and I recognized him as a friend from Timbuktu, from 3 years ago. I only knew him for a few days, but was happy to see him. He along with thousands of refugees, had left Timbuktu last year, and had come to Ouaga. There is a very big refugee camp out of town, where some more of his family is. I went to his house, and he told me the story of escaping Timbuktu on donkeys with his family. Some of his friends who hadn’t been able to leave, had been forced to join the rebel army, and are now in prison in Bamako, but he cant call them to find out how they are because they would think he is conspiring with them.

At the foundery, I am learning how to make plaster molds. It is very interesting, and I am working on some new ideas. I look forward to the first firing. The pieces I am working on will be mixed media when they are finished. I have been thinking about the insane diversity of human life on this planet, or in any town anywhere and I am trying to figure out how to portray that. In Ouagadougou or Paris or San Juan Island, if you look at any given street there is a sea of universes within the people walking by. It is the most beautiful thing in the world. We are so different, we are also so similar…




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2 responses to “Made it to Ouagadougou

  1. baba

    Thanks for sharing your new adventures and insights with all of us..and your perceptions of diversity and sameness in the magical world. Love Baba

  2. Shaun Hubbard

    Maria! Thank you for the stories you tell about collecting your stories. Like a portrait of someone painting a portrait. Infinity! Love, Shaun

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