Entries in nigeria (1)


Girl selling Peanuts. Abuja, Nigeria

This little girl, probably 7 or 8 years old, would sell small bags of peanuts for 5 cents at the Kwalika bush bar. She would say, "Hello Master would you like peanuts?" and kneel. She wouldn't talk to me but if I asked her an important question she would go get the bar-hand to speak to me. For instance, when I asked her if she went to school, she would look around to see who was watching, then go and get the barman and he told me she goes to a Muslim school. I asked her why she can't tell me that and she would just shake her head. The kneeling and Master thing always bothered me. It was a custom leftover from British colonialism. I would sometimes buy the whole tray and hand out the bags to other people in the bush bar. "How much for the whole thing?" "Two dollars and 55 cents," she'd say. "Give me the whole tray." Sometimes I would give her a dollar for one bag. She would look around out of the corner of her eyes, look back, make sure it's legit, and run off with the dollar. I know she would look for me as she always came in when I was there. Her other friends, peanut salesgirls also, would wait outside and watch. Sometimes I would buy her and her friends a piece of chicken or some suya.  She had hands like an old woman, dry and worn. She always wore the same clothes, this outfit showed here. It took a long time for her to build enough trust to allow me to take her photograph. The desperation of people was often heart-wrentching, but still there were humane moments that were heart-warming.

Watercolor (Saved in Watercolors)

18" x 12"