Pleasure in the faces when little lone white girl greets-- in Bamanakan. Men on motorcycles hugging full-size, headless, skinned cows. Smog in this valley of Bamako. Regal and wise looking Muslims striding slowly with perfect posture and high heads. Confusion as the cops in full African army garb (fatigues and teal beret) ride past me, waiting for my schoolbus, white and bright on the corner. The market being set up.
A man beat his wife tonight. A woman hit a child with a stick; the other kids yelled "Tubab!" at me. A donkey had a sore above his eye and the rope halter dragged on it. The woman at my bus stop is gone, she doesn't sit and fry meat on the corner. She's sick. Amputated or malformed beggers. Rude gestures from a vender angry at me for encouraging my friend to bargain him down. A man beat his wife tonight. She screamed it out so that everyone would know. Her defense, her revenge, her weapon was our knowledge, her "refusal to be silenced," the moral condemnation, the prick of conscience, self-consciousness, embarrassment. We listened. We heard. We women, we did nothing.