a night. loud music from a partytentsonthestreetwedding at the doctor's house, neighbouring the right gardenwall. light is unstable, but the current hasn't been gone for at least a day and because it's been some time i figure that i should drop my truly violent reading [1300 pages during the last couple of days] for a moment and try to write something. well, the house is empty, the videoediting gear is fried by heavy current fluctuations and the rest of the team is gone for a holiday...so i am trying to make some progress on old scenario-ideas and i don't, held back by a grand pile of great books that i could read and the everfear of the white paper/screen. apart from that the daily visits to and from friends and the unavoidable domestic tasks [just emptied half a pan of 4dayold cold spaghetti into my stomach and managed to put the empty pot on top of the more and more impressive dirtydishesskyscraper]. because these are the big events, i've listed some smaller ones. was actually growing indifferent towards them, until a distant prayer awoke my third eye again, which is my heart.
marginal notes on commonness [the circles of simplicity]
*) when looking a bit closer at the traffic signs [because you are taking driving lessons or making a program on traffic safety...or even better: both] you will notice that they are handpainted and made of thin metal plate. when you will then be spontaneous enough to tell the first person at hand that you think these works of art are very nice compared to the massproduced industrial signs we have in holland, you will -with a bit of luck be told- that there used to be exactly the same coated aluminium signs all over burkina until the day that they started to get stolen; first in small numbers, that could easily be replaced [problem was thought to be caused by the novelty] but very soon in larger and larger numbers. and while nobody could come up with an explanation that made sense, they kept replacing the signs with others, until somebody discovered that there wasn't some organised gang behind the thefts or streetkids looking for a souvenir, but housewives and their accessory families. finally the police found out that the highquality aluminium signs were nicked to transform them -with the help of a simple hammer- to familysize cooking pots, that would have cost a fortune at the market.
*) the sun is burning full of revenge after a twentyfourhourshower that has left the streets with so much water that it makes me think of my beautiful amsterdam canals. a naked thighhigh child with a loud pink skihat comes out to chase a torpid donkey with a stick.
*) imagine the broad and glorious avenue that's running all the way up to the silverwhite presidential palace, with fancy guards, proudly flying banners and naturally black mercedes limousines [in washington i think it's called 17th avenue, although this memory originates only from many bad US movies] and then imagine that you are in a crowded green taxi on that avenue, turning left, to be launched forward the next second when the taxidriver hits the breaks & horn to save the fragile lives of 7 lean sheep.
*) gideon is learning moorÈ. bit by bit. taking notes in a little scribbling-pad. inoussa is teaching him patiently. lafi be me? how is your health? lafi ba la. my health is good. inoussa is the brother of oumar, a boy next door who drives a donkeywaggon and is the smartest in the wemtenga koranschool; everybody hopes he'll soon be send to saoudi-arabia to finish his studies for imam. both oumar and inoussa occasionally help their father at work. he has a little stall at the grand marchÈ, selling figs, cement and coca-cola.
*) 5 days ago. it must have been the afternoon that was shaking with thunder. lightning in every corner of the darkgrey sky; every heartbeat a thunder somewhere. far of as distant sounds and near by as shocks powerful enough to rock the balcony chairs with a rough hand. 5 days ago jean's grand-frËre died, struck by lightning, found dead among his three lifeless goats. a friendly guard brought the news, he couldn't stop smiling, because of the surrealism of this death, laughing because he was so shocked.
*) after having passed my theoryexam at the department of transport, because my teacher convinced the officials to raise my 24 score to the demanded 25 out of 30, i am now in a squeaking renault 5, with a kind young instructor who is challenging my doubtful body co-ordination. the first lesson was called of because the elderly car refused to start. the third lesson my instructor proposes to drive to my house and asks me where i live. -wemtenga, secteur vingt-neuf. where exactly. -just beside the cemetery/rubbish dump, the baobab of sankara. ah, are you not afraid of the cemetery? -no i'm not afraid, i'm a christian hmm, you have a good faith we practise some of the basic skills, before hitting the dustroad. we chat about europe and film and the weather while i'm doing a little less lousy on the driving than the day before. when we arrive at the crossing where you have to turn right for my house and the cemetery, i turn on the indicator to the right and ask him `to the right, no?'. he's laughing a bit tense:`ah, no, let's just continue, why bother visiting anyway?'
*) another crowded cab. 25c to take me from centre ville to somewhere near home. an old nissan with a cracked window shield. three heavy women and a slobbery baby next to me on the back seat and two other fat ladies on the seat next to the male driver. breathtaking ride. 10 minutes of impertinent remarks in moorÈ about the white, laughing and staring at me with amazing shameless glances. and i of course, throwing in all my theatreexperience to completely ignore them, which i somehow managed reasonably well. when they were about to get off i made a remark about the neigbourhood and they were surprised that i knew my way around the city. one of them said mockingly in french `he knows ouaga alright' and at that point i tried one of my three phrases in moorÈ with the air of somebody who studied it for years: `hey, not all whitemen are stupid'. they were startled, they took it. and while i could here them thinking about all the things that had been said before, there was a beautiful silence. `au revoir, mesdames!'