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By Michael Jackson

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Extra resources for Barawa and the ways birds fly in the sky: an ethnographic novel

Sample text

That night Emma did not sleep . Between bouts o f sobbing she wrote a letter to her husband . to be included with other messages being taken by caravan to Ghadames the next day. " Oh my beloved dearest Laing . " she wrote. alas. a las what have you been exposed to. what danger. what su ffering. to have saved you one pang I would w ith joy have shed every drop of blood that warms this heart-Had I been w ith you in that fearfu l moment my arms wh ich would have en circled you m ight for some time have sh ielded you from the swords of those Daemons-and at last we m ight have fa llen .

But I must not be impatient and ill-tempered: they are only grown-up children a fter all . " O N REACHING FA LABA . Reade asked i f he might stay i n the capital for a while. The Yalunka ruler. who had never before seen a white man. assured the visitor that he would receive hospitality and protection. Reade had hardly finished arranging his boxes and fu rniture when gifts arrived from the chief: kola nuts. two chickens. and a large pannier of husked rice. He sent his servant . Abdula i . to thank the chief.

Marked the sites o f towns . Piles o f bones marked chiefdom and village bounda­ ries alike . Villagers who had su rvived the war now lived deep in the bush far from recognizable paths in makeshi ft houses of palm fronds . They ate wild yams and fruits. and camouflaged small gardens of rice and cassava around the swamps . Over this wasted region British and French diplomats wrangled. seeking treaties with Samori while negotiating their own spheres of control. When the Sofa wars finally ended . the two European govern­ ments ordered a joint commission to plot the course o f the upper Niger and its tribu taries and thereby " m a rk out on the ground" the boundary between their domains.

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