The Braid Girl

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THE BRAID GIRL: This is a little girl from Talat, my village of the Ayr. Talat is Ahoudan’s third home, where his third wife, Alhoubada, lives. It is also the home of Ahoudan’s cousin, Bachi, my mother’s best friend. Returning to Talat is always a homecoming, where I see mothers that were my girlfriends at the time that I grew up in the Ayr, such as Bachi’s daughter, Fati, and Ahoudan’s daughter Tchimo. Together we laugh about the times when we made clay dolls in the river oueds. The dolls were surprisingly realistic, adorned with voluptuous breasts and large backsides. The faces were made from cloth, and the hair of braided string to mimic the many braid fashions of the Touaregs of the Ayr. We would spend much of our days in the oueds, making clay huts for our dolls, as well as clay donkeys and goats. Our dolls were, of course, herders like my girlfriends.