March 02, 2005

Guinean Fabric

In a sort of panic, I went to Sandaga Market yesterday and started buying fabrics. I hear that the selection of fabric in Congo is not what it is in Senegal so I went from store to store getting some meters of this and that.

There are people who regularly walk around in the street with beautiful navy blue fabric and light blue tied-dyed patterns perched on their heads. I was always a little curious about that and asked a clerk in the store if she sold what those men were carrying. She answered (almost with a snarl) :"Madame, we don't sell fabric that's out in the street in here". I laughed, a trifle uncomfortably, at her snobbish answer.

I approached a man with the pieces of fabric on his head, not able to resist his warm smile. He sold me two of his prettiest pagnes (I'm sure I paid a lot more than the other customers but, oh well). He told me that they were traditional Guinean fabrics and that he himself was from Guinee. Ah, that would explain his huge smile (most Senegalese, although quite nice, do not spontaneously smile--unless they're trying to chat you up that is).

See Mrs. Store Clerk, no need to be such a snob about your fabric. Humpf!


Red Handed Jill said...

i met a guy from guinea once! he was a friend of my dad's tanzanian friends and he told me the funniest story. i swear i am not making this up:

ok the guy's name is adam. he came to america and this woman he met really liked him so she started teaching him english. well one day she made this big dinner and invited her family over to meet her new african friend. they asked him if he had any kids, only adam still didn't speak good enlish, and when the heard the word "children" he thought they said "cheese." like, "do you have any cheese?"

so he goes, "yes, i have some at home. I ate one this morning and put two in the fridge."

and of course they all thought he was a cannibal, lol!

anyway just thought i'd share.

007 in Africa said...

Waaah! That's really funny! Traveling makes for good stories.