welcome home! my apartment sits on the roof of Ma's home
My apartment in Bamako rests solidly on the roof of my landlord’s home. N’dyie Diallo, aka ‘Ma’, aka my landlord, runs the coop. She divies up the chores to her hired help. She dictates the menu for the household. And, unfailingly, she directs a running commentary on my strengths and shortcomings. We need these types of people in our lives though, don’t we?
Djelika, you need to give me this hat!When I recently confessed to Ma that it had been a few days since I had washed my hair because the water was so cold (I don’t have a hot water heater but for most of the year it’s a moot point considering the heat) she looked at me, aghast. ‘Djelika you can’t tell people that! You must bathe at least 4 or 5 times a day!!’
Arnoire is Ma's grandson and a bit of a troublemaker who likes to paint on the walls with his troop of friends but when they're so darn cute it's hard to stay mad for long.
they write 'brigade men'on the walls all around the house. i suggested 'brigade boys' but the idea didn't stick
When I suggested to Ma getting a sink in my kitchen she scrunched up her face in distaste. 'Why would you need a sink?' she asked. 'To wash dishes after dinner,' I replied. 'But you only know how to cook macaroni, what do you need a sink for??'
Purchasing, preparing and serving food for as many people as these pots feed isn't easy!
As much as Ma likes to rag on my way of living, I kind of understand her brusque attitude. Being a woman in Mali isn't easy - when you want to be heard you have to yell. And when Ma wants to be heard - people (including me!) listen.