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Would you Like Some Mud in Your Hair? Yes Please.

April 1, 2011

img_1382-version-2.jpgI have forgotten  how stifling a mozzie net is. If there is any puff of air out there it is obliterated by the net. At the end of a windy day there is no breeze and I lie in the open stripped right off (sorry sensitive reader) leaking more sweat than water drunk today, of that I am sure.

The local hippo has settled down but his grunting efforts earlier in the evening had us on alert for he sounded as if he had left the Nile and gone walkabout. Even the local Sudanese boys were quiet for a moment as they tuned in to what he might be doing. Now we are just left with the sound of frogs and crickets and the murmur and laughter of a language I have never heard before. It is musical. Oops, now those frogs are joined by the sound of drums in the distance, the throb drifting down through the bush. Complex and lyrical. And soporific.

 A couple of girls joined me after lunch for a chat and drink of our filtered hot water.  They are about five years old. I was flopped in a plastic chair have a water stop and they wanted to touch my white knees and giggled as they compared their skin with mine.  The giggle quickly turned to peals of laughter. Then they pushed their muddy little hands onto mine, fingers splayed out on my palm and laughed some more, highlighting differences in size and colour. Then they proudly showed me their ears and I was shocked to discover they were full of thorns. They have been down in the reeds piercing each other’s ears. They cackled with laughter at my “ow” response. Not just one thorn but half a dozen and all around the ear as well. They were very proud of them.

Then they removed my hat and there was more laughter. Those little muddy hands pull my hair and I feel them running their fingers through it. I am initially perplexed at the interest but realise it is probably length and lack of frizz when they take my hands and guide it to the back of their heads. Their hair, such as it is, is very short and very tightly braided. They continue to giggle and compare skin colour until one of them spots an empty fruit tin and I was instantly no longer the main attraction in town. They grabbed those tins and ran out of the compound as if it was Christmas morning.  I went back to the Workshop with a smile on my face.

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