Thursday, September 1, 2011

A new definition of thanks

I'd like to start off my reporting with a poem I've been working on:
(with thanks to Jordy Williams, whose poem inspired a device in this one, and Christie Dasaro and Ruth Sallah, for helping me understand the language)

From west Africa I learned a phrase,
"Mungode Yesu"; it's Hausa,
so it means far more than
"Thank You Jesus" in my
pampered, perfect American.
For Hausa is the language
of bartering over patterned cloth
and smoked fish, the language hummed
by AIDS widows under thatched roofs,
moaned by malaria patients sharing a hospital bed,
of women who carry their babies from that
hospital, to bury them, and must fight
to live the next day. Mungode Yesu,
in the language that calls its people
five times a day to pronounce fear of Allah,
the language of sweat in the fields,
drought and blood and tears and widowhood,
partaken with wounds associated with that name,
in Hausa "Thank You Jesus"
testifies to the impossible
to hope where it was unknown,
mocks the darkness with the precious sounds,
"Mungode Yesu."
This is Mr. and Mrs. Sale Abdullah, M-background evangelists who welcomed us to their home last year. Sale went to heaven in January.

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