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Nazara, it's Nazara that has come to Africa

My Life as Nazara

BURKINA FASO | Tuesday, 15 April 2014 | Views [318] | Scholarship Entry

Nazara, it's Nazara that has come to Africa
But there is too much sun
Where you are from there is no sun
The sun beats down on you
But little by little you will get used to it
Welcome, Nazara, to our country
Nazara, bye-bye, the song is now done

I am the only Nazara -white woman- in the small rural town of Léo. As I pass, the excited children chant about my whiteness. My singularity is embraced in Burkina Faso, an arid African land of traditional ways. Burkina Faso stands for "the land of incorruptible men" in the dialects of Mooré and Yula. It was previously named "Haut Volta" by French colonists, in reference to the Volta stream; however, due to the insignificance of this water source, the people changed it.
Along with its colourful market fabrics and talented artisans, Burkina is known for its hellish heat. The intense hot weather and dust make me feel as though I am trapped in a bubble of burning sun and sand. The fan that should be cooling me down is instead sending warm gusts of dusty air my way. I have arrived at our theatre group's headquarters where I am waiting for the young Burkinabé actors to show up for practice. They are already an hour late, but that comes as no surprise. We’re on African time.

The gathering minutes lead me to recall the nightmare I had during my sleep; an enormous venomous spider trickled its way down from the ceiling to bite an elderly African Mama on the shoulder while she was sewing in her chair. I lose my train of thought as the first actor arrives with a shuffle of bare-footsteps.
We rehearse until dark. The actors become uneasy when they realize the time. Bacé tells me the "marabous," the sorcerers, come out at these hours of the night. He accompanies me on the unlit path. The magical part about having no electricity is the radiance of the stars, guiding our route. I feel small and humble, standing in the darkness below their immensity.
I arrive home and push the creaky door open, in time to see a shadow scurry across the floor. My heart starts to race as I feel along the wall for the light switch. The light brings a grotesque sight into view. An extremely large camel spider has just run up my bedroom door, frozen by the sudden brightness. My breathing accelerates as I remember my dream, but I don't have time to panic as Bacé murders the hideous villain with a clean swat of his sandal.
That night, as I lie in bed, dusty winds and dancing spiders twirl in my head. This Nazara is slowly embracing the Burkinabé life.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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