Friday, March 20, 2009


The area around the Grand Marché of Ouaga is usually a hive of activity with people constantly on the move as trucks load and unload goods coming in from the port towns of Tema and Lome and go out to the villages.

The roads around this area are a constantly moving panorama of people, cars, lorries and moto's - motor bikes of every hue and color. The sounds are a medley of people talking, selling and buying, the growls of engines, the honk honk of the ice cream sellers - the one sound conspicuously absent to my ears is the sound of automobile horns - unlike in SL, in these countries the use of horns considered to be extremely rude and only resorted to in an emergency.

All this happens from Monday to Saturday, from 0800hr till 1800hr; except for one hour on Friday.

On Friday at 12 noon a silence descends upon the market as the roads around the Great Mosque are closed off to vehicular traffic. From every direction the faithful come to spread their prayer mats on the roads around the mosque, to kneel as one facing Mecca brought here by a tradition that goes back to the days of the Prophet Mohamed.

There is a quietness in the air and an cold tingling along the back of my neck as I watch these people in their 100's kneeling and standing in unison, the hum of these multitudes voices praying to their one god.

This particular day my senses were assaulted in another way too, a light sprinkle of moisture falling from the heavens, the first rain I have seen in almost 6 months. As the water fell upon the hot tar of the roads, that peculiar warm damp smell rose of the ground in faint clouds of steam, hitting me like a steam roller - for that smell I associate with the roads of SL, of seeing the steam rise of the roads there, smell that fresh, warm, clogging smell that is so intense.

I miss my home, I miss the lush greenness of my mother land, the richness of its soil.

1 comment:

  1. awww. i know that smell so well too.the smell of dust soaking in the moisture. if you breathe in really really deep, its almost metallic.