TUBABUS Y FATAFIUS [2012] 

 

I.- KANDIO MANÉ

I am Kandio, from the Mané family, Malinke, black.

My ancestors, Malinke from the dawn of time, served as slaves to you whites, the “tubabus”.

In spite of my appearance, I am a lucky man, I possess all that I need: a ceiling to shelter me, four wives -Kadi, Animata, Nhama and Famata, who have given me 30 children- who cultivate rice in our “bolañas”, obtain milk from the cattle my sons care for and water that my daughters carry from the spring and wells from town.

I have almost nothing else, apart from the pride of being Malinke.

 

Now some of ours are living among you and, in the majority of the cases, they are nothing more than blacks. A cheap or clandestine workforce.

You, the “tubabus”, have learned many important things, like the handling of water and electric light, but you have forgotten many others in the process.

We, the Malinke, the “fatafius”, have names and each name encapsulates a story. Now, that you know my name you are obligated to never forget me.

II.- CAMBODA FATI

Camboda Fati is a survivor. He survived as a child: smallpox, two war conflicts and, in present day, survives each and every day the poverty which he is subjected to.

Life in town is dependent on him as he is the only porter of the water bomb. At dawn and at fall he opens the lock so the women residents (only those who can contribute a few coins for the maintenance of the installation) have the opportunity to obtain the necessary water to wash, to clean up and to prepare the food. The rest have to attain the precious liquid from a nearby spring. In both cases, it’s surprising to see that, despite the immeasurable dedication and time dedicated to this activity; these moments are the ones where life shines with the most intensity.

However, Camboda is not the only survivor. The rest of the populace let the days and years pass, tainted with an extraordinary quotidianity; seasoned in equal parts with the peace of the shade provided by the exuberant tropical vegetation, gossip and prayers. Everyday life is sometimes interrupted due to trips to the closest town, Bafatá, to buy clothes or medicine.

 

In Gambasse, all of them are survivors of the unmerciful forces of destiny, of which they had no choice in at birth. Furthermore, with their limited resources, these forces are impossible to keep at bay.

 

III.- RAMOLI CAMARÁ

I could have been born in the country of the “tubabus”, but instead I was born here, in the Malinke town of Gambasse in Guinea-Bissau, Africa. At dawn Maria Mané, the midwife, covered in sweat, crossed the entire village in the midst of an enormous storm to presence my birth. Short after, my mother Sirene placed me on the only cot in my house, wrapped tightly in a big blanket. That August, the residents of the town were dubious at the arrival of a group of “tubabus”. That is the reason why my father Nansu, thinking about one of them, chose Ramoli as my name.

“Tubabus” are easy to distinguish at first sight: they are completely white and are always preoccupied of the forest animals.

 

I feel safe in my village, everybody takes care of me. The time I have left as a child will consist of carrying water and playing with the other children. When I finally grow older I will be able to help my father fix bicycles or be a shepherd of the flock of cows in Kandio and drink their milk.

I could have been born in the country of the “tubabus” but the truth is that I was born here and the only animals which scare me are the mosquitoes. Lots of children will die from their bite and I don’t know if I’ll be one of them.

 
 
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