I’ve been working in my hut the last few afternoons, doing prep work for a latrine project and typing stuff up. I don’t usually let little kids into my hut, especially if there are a bunch of them, but if they ask nicely and aren’t being too rowdy I’ll let them in, give them a stack of scratch paper and some pens, and watch them “write” up a storm.
Here are Mankaba, Ablaye, Diame, and Diabou (above) and Diouma, Mankaba, and Daouda "Petit" Ba (below). They’re usually pretty well behaved, and they do a good job of keeping an eye on each other, calling out things like “Hey! Mankaba! Don’t touch Adama’s pillow! She washed it!” and “You can’t have all the paper! Give her one!”
Yesterday Diabou, the youngest of my host sisters, came into my hut for the first time. The mere sight of me made her cry for the first few weeks after I arrived, but I gave her plenty of space and she progressed to just glaring at me, then sitting near –but not next to - me, and then a few months in she started greeting me with little waves. Now she has a lot of affection for me, and expresses it by doing her best to feed me mushy crackers, lightly chewed-on bits of baobab, and handfuls of rice with sauce. Anyway, yesterday she came in and sat down and scribbled, and I was pleased that she was there and it was all very cute.
And then she peed on my floor.