In Koubri, we meet Boston’s good friend Abdalai. He lives in a small one-room, one-bed house. Jean and I camp outside in my tent – we pitch it on the ground in front of the house. Next to the entrance door – a corrugated iron sheet – stands a small wooden bench. We spend most of our time there by the house, practice djembe for hours at the time. Over by the road, a café sells rice with peanut sauce for 100 CFA (about 20 US cent) and another café makes sandwiches with omelet for about the same price.
The wind swirls up dust that fills the air; dims the sun. For much of the day, the light is not much stronger than the of a full moon during the night. There are barely any shadows. It is the harmattan – a yearly northeasterly wind in West Africa, which occurs from December to February. The wind carries with it dust and sand from the Sahara desert towards the Gulf of Guinea.
“There are two TVs in the same village – two cinemas,” Abdalai tells us with great enthusiasm, as if it is unusual for a village to house more than one TV. He shows us to the one he regards as the better one. We pay 50 CFA each in entrance to the small room. Eight rows of mud benches rise from the ground, as if natural parts of the mud floor. The walls, too, are made of mud. Above us a thatched roof. A 28 inch TV glows from one short side of the room. Playing tonight is a quite terrible karate movie – the movie constantly skips and the colors are reddish throughout. The volume is turned up as loud as possible; the sound is shrieking harsh.
For most people the audience though, the movie is a rare opportunity to see something new and possibly unknown – the quality is not very important. I and Jean leave after some half an hour – discover the village instead, which is new and unknown to us.
New Year’s Eve
The kids roam the streets; burn off firecrackers. In the evening, I visit the village’s church. Some kids rehearse for a stage play they’ll do later the same evening, but they let me butt in and try one of their four locally made electric guitars. Jean also comes by, and together we play and sing for a while. Later, we return to watch the show, but it’s played in their local language, so we don’t understand much.
Half an hour or so before midnight, we fall asleep at home and don’t wake up before the following morning. It is the first time that I’ve overslept a New Year’s. New priorities here as compared to in Sweden.