Thursday, April 14, 2011

une petite fille et sa chanson

I felt like queen of the land while in Dogon Country.  Bremen carried the backpack containing our things and Moumo insisted on carrying my large water bottle, leaving me free to snap photos at will or do whatever I pleased. It was fantastic and I quickly replaced moments of guilt for sheer exuberance, realizing that chivalry is not dead, despite what I was beginning to believe in Holland.

But I digress.  Because this isn't at all what I wanted to tell you about, even though it was nice to note.  Instead, what I wanted to tell you was a story.  A story about a girl and a song.  A French song to be more specific.

It all started as we stopped at camp for our lunch break during the second day's hike in Dogon Country.  The poor men, having been worn out from carrying all my belongings, found comfortable chairs to rest in and soon fell asleep. Whereas, not having had to carry a single thing besides my camera the entire journey, I was full of energy and set off exploring the area while lunch was being prepared.

After taking a few photos and making my way back towards the camp a little girl, of about 7 years old, came up to me and started singing Frere Jacques.  She assumed I'm French, and since the song is probably the only French she knows, she used it as a form of communication. I, in return, joined in and sang with her.  At that moment her little hand clasped onto mine and we walked towards camp together, singing a French nursery rhyme.

By the time the song ended, three other children gathered around me. We introduced ourselves.
Apta, my singing companion:

Mata, the baby:

Ata, the middle aged girl:

Segu, the boy:

... and me, Awa Sangare.  Our names were repeated over and over.  They were repeated as we walked down the path leading to the camp. They were repeated between games of "Duck, Duck, Goose!" and "Ring Around the Rosie", which I taught them.  And they were repeated between Dogon songs which they sang to me.

Thirty minutes after we parted, as I was finishing up my lunch, we heard a chorus of children chanting my name:  "Awa Sangare!  Awa Sangare!" they chimed.  Children, none of which I knew, were calling me from below, calling me from the neighboring hill, and calling me from a nearby field.  When I looked over the terrace ledge they added "Ca va?" to their serenade and waved their arms around.  It was such a sweet moment.

And it all began with a little girl and her song.


Akane said...

That is sweet. it must have been a wounderful moment, childern's voices are lovely.

KIRSTY said...

Just came across your blog, I think its completely inspiring and totally beautiful. I couldn't stop reading and the pictures are lovely!
Defiantly going to keep reading!
Kirsty :)