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  • Lorraine Johnson

[47] Look Forward, You Must

There I was with the blue of indigo, and copper wire woven to perfection, and the Niger River's winding bed in the distance, seen—in a land made magical by stories told—in the Malian heart of Bamako. With the ancient 'City of Gold'—where banco clay covers it pale and golden mangos used to dot the lands before conflict reigned its mighty hands—many miles away—it was—yet still able to weigh down the country's true soul from far, far away.

But on I went with my working days full of handmade things, and skillful hands, and smiles and nods when no language to be found. And narrow alleys, and open markets, and mud cloth and wooden doors with intricate carvings. Hellos and goodbyes, and tell me your strengths and all of your needs, till the days crawled so beautifully to the end of the deed.

So I hopped into a taxi with a long lost friend and a speedy taxi driver with, yes, just one goal in his head. We chatted and chatted on the way to my flight, my eyes still full of all things new and all things blue, and experiences that brought truth into my view. The usual rush, it was all a part, until a big thug should have brought the car to a stop. But it persistently continued to move down, down the road, as I looked back aghast, to see two legs of a cow, like the wicked witch of the west in the Wizard of Oz, sticking out from under the frame of a very old car. I gasped and begged to return, to take care of all that took place, but was politely yet adamantly informed, "Look forward, mademoiselle, you must!" If we stopped, the villagers would gather, hours would pass, hearts would be torn and money would be spent, for the value of a cow and a culture's norms. It was out of my hands so onward we went, with the vision well-planted inside of my head.


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