Monday, November 26, 2012

What’s so magical about Maaza?

**A Story from April 2012 which I had emailed and journaled about but never had the time to compile and share with you all... until now **
It was love at first sip. I love mangos and I love Maaza’s mango sumu (juice). I love it so much that whenever I went to a larger, more developed village like Ingoré or São Domingos to buy medicine, I always stopped by a store, which had an ice chest/chest freezer, and treated myself to a frosty cold, or sometimes mildly chilled, Mango Maaza. Tanu, one of the store keepers in our village, stocks Maaza but has no refrigeration. Though undoubtedly more refreshing when chilled, even at room temperature of 80 or 90 degrees its delicious, and when I go to Tanu’s store and ask for “my juice” he knows exactly what I want.  Yes, it’s good juice, but would I blog about ordinary juice? No.
Mango Maaza won’t reduce your appetite, help you stay up all night, or get rid of wrinkles. It’s also not particularly cheap, in the US or in Africa! So what IS so magical about a cold Mango Maaza you might ask yourself? Well, ordinarily, nothing. It’s juice. As I explained previously, it’s quite delicious juice, especially with no Ocean Spray around, but there’s certainly nothing “magical” about it, in and of itself. But as I’m sure you know, many ordinary things in life are valuable due to their sentimental value. Mango Maaza is no exception.

~ * ~ * ~
It started out as an ordinary afternoon. I was in the kitchen at the mission house trying to figure out what I could come up for dinner, when my good friend Mariama appeared at the door with her young son Mamanjan. I immediately began to apologize because I had said I would stop over and was running late, but she interrupted me mid sentence and said the doctor wanted to see me. Now this was startling in and of itself, since Sean and I were the only medical professionals in the village.

It was a Saturday afternoon and I remembered that the people from Sedengal (a nearby village) had come to run their monthly immunization clinic. I asked Mariama if that was the doctor who wanted to see me. She said yes and, holding back tears, said that the doctor (which is term often used to describe any medical personnel) there wanted to see me. Sensing that something was wrong, I ushered her out the gait and we headed for the benches in the shade of a large tree, where they run monthly vaccine programs. By this time Mariama is blurting out something about him taking her baby and I’m confused, thinking that though my Creole was far from perfect, perhaps there was a huge misunderstanding between her and this “doctor” she was speaking of. Mariama is a young Fula woman. Fulani women, at least in our area, are normally uneducated and often don’t speak Creole well, or even at all. I was at a loss for what could have possibly happened here but was hoping I would be of some use sorting things out.

As we are approaching, a medical provider sees Mariama and starts verbally attacking her, roaring in a loud demeaning tone of voice, calling her an unfit mother and saying that Fula children always die because their mothers don’t take care of them. By now I’ve heard enough and attempt to introduce myself, but he continues. He is now addressing myself, insisting she’s lying to me and accusing her of not feeding  her infant son, pointing out that he’d lost 0.2kg (0.44lbs) since the prior month.  By this point, between his accusations, his tone of voice, and the fact that he has unjustly accused and publically humiliated my friend, this man has rather rapidly pushed my, actually I do know her. She’s one of my best friends.  I am at her house multiple times a day, and I know that she has done so much to try to help this poor child who is always sick and she does extra side jobs so that they can buy him supplemental formula and fortified baby food, so don’t you dare verbally attack her like that(pause to breathe),  button.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak
for themselves, ensure justice for
those being crushed.”  -Prov 31:8

to be continued...

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