Wednesday, 31 May 2006

Me, Reading and I

I can clearly see the day I was told that I'd be going to school. I froze. Then I started jumping up and down. On the bed, on the table, on the chair. My mum was laughing, my sister was crying and my brother was sucking his thumb.

School didn't interest me. What I longed and thirsted for was to know what the square, round and pointed symbols covering the pages of books meant.

Is the love of reading hereditary? Maybe. We've always been surrounded by books. Mum says We'd be millionaires if we sell of your father's books. When she's mad at him she yells, Next time you travel, I'll sell your books. I thought it was funny and silly. I don't think so anymore.

On my pictures, of that period, am always carrying a book or pretending to read by pouting. I read anything I could lay my hands on. I remember one time for Eid, we were going to a friend of my father's with some friends and their big brothers and sisters. Walking, I saw a torn magazine which I bent down to pick. One of the big sisters look at me severely, shook her head and said One day you'll read your own shadow (death). I laughed. I was terrified. I had nightmares. I still think about it from time to time and wonder if my being short-sighted has nothing to do with it.

The first book I recall possessing was a comprehension book called "La Famille Boda". On the cover was an illustration showing a girl reading "La Famille Boda". I wished it were me.

"La Famille Boda"
has an anecdote.

We were living in Niger at that time and my father was professor in a University about 54kms from Niamey, the capital. I always say, our time there was the greatest lesson I've ever been taught.

There were people from all over the world teaching and being taught in this University. The wives were all friends and the kids all played together. That's where we learned respect and love. Caring and helping.

Anyway, there was this new family from Côte d'Ivoire like us. The kids were enrolled with us at school and the mother came to visit and have an idea about the school etc from my mother. My mother does not speak French properly so I had to translate. Now, this lady wants to know if what comprehension book we use. "La Famille Boda" I told her smiling. She gaped at me, frowned and said Excuse me. "La Famille Boda" I repeated spelling the words, happy to show off. She said Thank You curtly, collected her kids and went home. My mother said What did you say to make her mad? I said Nothing mommy. I went to take my book and see whether I'd gotten it wrong. I'd gotten it right.

When my father came back home, my mum told him what happened. He smiled and said nothing.

Later, I came to know that in my ethnic dialect Malinké - which I did not speak at the time - Boda means Asshole.

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ChickyBabe said...

Thank you for the laugh! C'est rigolo!

Jack's Shack said...

Reading is one of the finer pleasures in life.

jackt said...

Hahahah classic!!! That's hilarious!!!

I love to read. I will read the back of a shampoo bottle if I don't have anything else to read. You wanna know the ingredients? I'll tell you, you don't want to know. :)

Egan said...

The subtlities of languages. Great story Fitèna. Reading is fun and so darn educational.

M said...

Well done! French grammar is a boda, anyway.

Fitèna said...

je t'en prie très chère CBabe! J'adore faire rire! :-)

Jack's Shack, I agree 100%! And reading is such a comfort when you're feeling blue!

Haha jackt! I thought I was weird! Its so reassuring to note that am not the only one who does such things! I've read so many medecine prescriptions that I feel I belong in a pharmacy!

Egan, thanks! I'd send you the book if I could get a copy! :-)

lol! M you have no idea how right you are! I get so terrified I'd make mistakes when writing french that I end up making them for real!


lost goddess said...

I wish I had the passion for reading that you all carry. I'm smart enough to know that book have endless knowledge but dumb enough not be plug into such an outlet. *sigh* Oh well somedays I try..

PS nice blog you got here

Hyperion said...

That story made me crack up and feel sad at the same time.

Damn whomever played a joke on you!

Reading is cool, though. We should start a club, and get tee-shirts.

Fitèna said...

Welcome lost goddess! Hummm... that can be taken care of. What's your type of book? I may suggest some titles! It needn't be a passion, it can just be a passe temps!
Thanks for stoping by!

Hyperion, why sad?
We should? That's a nice idea. We'll have to meet though, won't we? I'll await the billet d'avion! :-)


kimananda said...

Fabulous story! A good illustration of why language is so much fun.

And, just like you and jackt, I am a readaholic. I read everything, obsessively. Doesn't everyone?

Fitèna said...

Thank you! And no kimananda, everyone, sadly, doesn't read as obsessively as we do!!

Not-faint-hearted said...

Hi. I just read this post from the Carnival of the Mundane. What a great story!

Nance said...

I'm an obsessive reader, too. I teach literature to high school students and try to pass on my love of books. I can't imagine not reading. Do you read mainly in French or in English?

Anonymous said...
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Fitèna said...

Not-faint-hearted, thank you for visiting and am glad you enjoyed it!

Nance, join the club! :0) Most of my friends and first of all my mum do not understand this need. It's a need. The one time I quit reading for a little bit longer than one month was after I went through a sort of "overdose". I read mostly in English! Maybe because french bored me!