Bissau city notes

the call to prayer awoke me,
aroused me from my slumber –

20 years ago inside the walled compound –
inside the isolated international zone –
twice separated from reality –
we never heard the call.

But now, inside the city,
we hear it, and it calls us to reflect,
to contemplate, to consider
our course of action.

There are more people in the city:
more languages being spoken,
more cultures mixing,
more women in hijab, more buying
& selling in Bandim Market.

I hear people are immigrating here,
traders from Conakry and Senegal,
refugees from Mali and Niger.
The state apparatus is small & weak
so opportunities are many.


Author: Raymond Maxwell Librarian and archivist-in-training, retired foreign service officer and former naval officer.

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