One thing that I love about West Africa are the children. You go for a walk and there are a dozen hands to hold, smiling faces talking to you and trying to teach you words in their language. In Guinea, everyday during dance class, smiling giggling children would be watching us over the wall. One girl inparticular would always get my attention and summon me over to reach up and give her a high five. She would always be waving to me and giving me a thumbs up to let me know I was doing a good job. One day she motioned for me to come over and actually threw me money. I was shocked, I tried to give it back to her but she wouldn’t let me. Then the first time that I saw her outside on the street, she ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug. I don’t know why she took such a liking to me but it was such a blessing. One of those sweet gifts in life that are priceless.
Guinea has a rich culture of dance and drumming, which is why there are so many people who love to travel there and learn in such an authentic environment. One of my favorite aspects of this culture of dance are the dundunba’s. A dundunba is a celebration put on for various occasions, like a wedding for example. Two rhythms are played; dundunba and soko. Everyone gets in a big circle and as the drummers play, dancers come in one by one and dance to the rhythms. This is also how a lot of the dance artists make some of their money. As they dance and amaze the audience, people come up and give them money.
I don’t know if there is something extra magical in the air in Guinea, or if the people are extra intriguingly beautiful to capture on camera, but I couldn’t put my camera away. Every time that I did, out it would come again in a mad dash to catch another lovely shot. Here are just a few of these beautiful faces; friends we were lucky to make. All four of them were the sweet quiet type. You can see the kindness in there eyes.
Just a year ago I was mourning that I have hardly any fabric from my travels in West Africa. African fabric is my absolute favorite. It is vibrant, colorful, unique and signature to Africa. This trip to Guinea, I didn’t waste any time getting to the market and getting my hands on this fabulous fabric. With my busy schedule of pretty much dancing nonstop for a whole month I didn’t have a lot of time in the markets, nor did I have a lot of mental energy and stamina in the hot sun, with vendors competing for my attention; however I feel happy about the fabrics that I have come home with, and pleased with the friends I made along the way.
This is Salimatou, the first friendly fabric seller in my market adventures. After haggling down the prices I told her (with some help from an english speaking Guinean friend), that I am a taylor and will be making stuff to sell with her fabric. She seemed pleased that we were two business woman from across the globe doing our thing. I asked if I could get a picture with her and told her that I wanted to show my customers the lovely lady that I bought the fabric from.
On the left here is Fatmata and on the right is Aicha. They were fun ladies and more than happy to get pictures with me. They were especially tickled when I asked them there names in SUSU, (Ikeelidi?)
This last lady is Halimatou. She had the most beautiful and unique fabric that I found, but didn’t have a very large variety of it. If she did I might not have gotten very far beyond her fabric stall.
I have been wowing my friends with all colorful fabric that I have come back with and can’t wait to fill my shop with fabulous creations.