Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Obama magic in Sierra Leone

Obama magic
As mentioned before in this blog, I got tagged with the nickname Obama, probably because I would call out his name as a greeting before and after the election, and people began returning it. Now when I run through Sunshine Valley near us, a neighborhood of mostly low-income families living on steep slopes bordering a small stream, children and adults call out, even at a distance, “Obama.” I return the greeting.
On some runs in the valley, I play games with the children I see in the distance, across the stream, or high up a slope. We mimic each other’s moves, even throwing in a few yoga positions and end up with a good laugh. A few of the older youth get a good laugh at me because I can’t copy their handstands and other more advanced moves.
It’s energizing when children call out and run up to you or holler from a distance to start the game. It’s not the most efficient workouts, but it certainly is a wonderful way to spend an hour before sunset. I’ll miss those runs and all the people along the way.
Now I have yet another nickname (Bai Bureh, a chief from the 1800s: see separate entry on naming). The other day as I was getting into a taxi, a driver of another vehicle leaned out the window and yelled: “Bai Bureh.” And when two passengers got into the taxi with me, one of them looked up and said: “Obama.” People enjoy greeting each other and are often a lot warmer and open than we tend to be back in the U.S.

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