Ibrahim’s photo studio is right next to Kolbugri’s shop so I see him daily. He seems to have a better grasp of English grammar and syntax than most so he is very helpful with my language learning as he can sometimes explain why something is said a certain way.
These Are My Friends: Kulibidaana
Two months ago my friend BaaMejida was enskinned as a chief and given the name Kulibidaana (“Little River Owner”). Here it is the custom to only call him by his new name. In fact, it is considered so disrespectful to call a chief by his old name that you can be sent to the court of the paramount chief and fined.
These Are My Friends: Saaibu
Saaibu is always hanging around Kolbugri’s shop. He doesn’t speak a lick of English.
These Are My Friends: Yakuba
Yakuba was the Kambɔnluŋŋa, or Chief’s Warrior Drummer, for many years. The first time he saw me wearing a traditional smock he went into his room and returned to give me one of his own traditional hats to match it.
These Are My Friends: Mercy
Mercy runs a chemical store (a bit like a pharmacy) across from Kolbugri’s shop where I hang out most of the time.
These Are My Friends: Kolbugri
This is my good friend Kolbugri. We sit for hours and hours talking in Mampruli. He’s definitely my “cultural insider” who fills me in on the do’s and don’ts, traditions, and beliefs of his people.
Mubarak the Furniture Maker
Mubarak runs a small furniture business in Nalerigu on the hospital road. They build sofas, armchairs and beds out of wood, add latex padding, and then do the upholstery. Their little operation has about 8 employees and they display their finished products right outside on the side of the road. Like most craftsmen in West […]
The Street Vendors
These guys don’t sell stuff on the side of the road, they sell stuff IN the road. And these are really, really busy roads. In some places (like Accra, Ghana), I’ve heard the men are independent salesmen. They hit up a warehouse in the early morning and buy a bunch of whatever they think they […]
The Construction Workers
Most of the buildings in Nalerigu are simple made of mud bricks. They last a couple years (depending on the severity of rainy season) and then they are rebuilt. Unlike dilapidated homes in the US that slowly fall apart and rot, the mud walls just slowly dissolve until after several years the structure becomes just […]