The Heart is not laid bare,
When Little is offered for
The Soul’s protection.
~Noelle Renee 8/4/11
by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)
from Out of Africa
In the reserve I have sometimes come upon the iguanas, the big lizards, as they were sunning themselves upon a flat stone in a river-bed. They are not pretty in shape, but nothing can be imagined more beautiful than their colouring.
They shine like a heap of precious stones or like a pane cut out of an old church window. When, as you approach, they swish away, there is a flash of azure, green, and purple over the stones, the colour seems to be standing behind them in the air, like a comet's luminous tail.
Once I shot an iguana. I thought that I should be able to make some pretty things from his skin. A strange thing happened then, that I have never afterwards forgotten. As I went up to him, where he was lying dead upon his stone, and actually while I was walking the few steps, he faded and grew pale; all colour died out of him as in one long sigh, and by the time that I touched him he was grey and dull like a lump of concrete. It was the live impetuous blood pulsating within the animal which had radiated out all that glow and splendour. Now that the flame was put out, and the soul had flown, the iguana was as dead as a sandbag.
Often since I have, in some sort, shot an iguana, and I have remembered the one in the Reserve. Up at Meru I saw a young Native girl with a bracelet on, a leather strap two inches wide, and embroidered all over with very small turquoise-coloured beads which varied a little in colour and played in green, light blue, and ultramarine. It was an extraordinarily live thing; it seemed to draw breath on her arm, so that I wanted it for myself, and made Farah buy it from her. No sooner had it come upon my own arm than it gave up the ghost. It was nothing now, a small, cheap, purchased article of finery. It had been the play of colours, the duet between the turquoise and the 'nègre' -- that quick, sweet, brownish black, like peat and black pottery, of the Native's skin -- that had created the life of the bracelet. *
In the Zoological Museum of Pietermaritzburg, I have seen, in a stuffed deep-water fish in a showcase, the same combination of colouring, which there had survived death; it made me wonder what life can well be like, on the bottom of the sea, to send up something so live and airy. I stood in Meru and looked at my pale hand and at the dead bracelet. It was as if an injustice had been done to a noble thing, as if truth had been suppressed. So sad did it seem that I remembered the saying of the hero in a book that I had read as a child: "I have conquered them all, but I am standing among graves."
(Dinesen’s story is of course about Kenya)
The Following video needs little introduction: K’Naan’s “Wavin Flag”. K’Naan hails from Somalia originally, a land that is currently seeing a world of struggle.
The Bozo People
The Bozo are a West African ethnic group located predominantly along the Niger River in Mali. The name Bozo is thought to derive from Bambara bo-so, 'Bamboo house'; the people accept it as referring to the whole of the ethnic group but use more specific clan names such as Sorogoye,Hain, and Tieye themselves. They are famous for their fishing and are Bozo languages).occasionally referred to as the "masters of the river." Their languages, belonging to the Soninke-Bozo subgroup of Northwestern Mande languages, have traditionally been considered dialects of one language, though in reality there are at least four distinct varieties (see Rock drawings linked to the Bozo area date back as far as 6,000 years, but many aspects of Bozo culture took shape under the 10th century Ghana Empire, when the Bozo took possession of the banks of the Niger. The Bozo were the founders of the Malian cities of Djenné and Mopti.
Though the Bozo are predominantly Muslim, they preserve a number of animist traditions as well. Their animal totem is the bull, whose body represents the Niger and whose horns represent the Bozo fishing pirogues.
Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (from which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959, achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal's withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a 1991 coup led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state. About half the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
About the Photographer:
Carlos Duarte hails from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. His favorite interests are, travel and, of course, photography ~ mainly social, portrait and landscape photography, where he sees very clear connections. You may find his exquisite photos on 1x.com and also on his extraordinary blog. His travels led him to Africa, where he spent nine days in Mali and had the good fortune to photograph ‘Mayda’ which won a prestigious award from an international National Geographic contest. Africa “catches you,” he says on his blog. If you look at Carlos’s work you can see the beauty of his images and the love that went into creating them, even the ones that show struggle and pain. We should all be grateful for such artists among us.
Finally, for more Haiku My Heart, Please visit dear rebecca’s blog at recuerda mi corazon where you may find both compassion and a sense of true belonging wherever you are in your life journey.