GOTCHI AND SATCHI : (part seven… short story continued) Binta dragged the terrified Gotchi to the marketplace, declaring, “This is where we will sell our medicine.” They found an empty space on the dirt ground, next to a fruit and spice vendor. After rolling out their torn plastic mat, Gotchi proceeded to neatly lay out their plants. She then found some discarded cardboard, and on it drew little sketches to describe what the medicines would heal: headaches, diarrhea, and malaria. There was even a potion to help people fall in love!
When she finished her drawings, Gotchi sat beside her mother on their mat. The hot air lay heavily around them, filled with aromas of sweet spice, rotting vegetables, sewage, and drying fish. She missed her family and Satchi terribly. Flies swarmed all around, and she grew hungry.
A few people bought their medicines. Their love potion was the most popular. Since they had earned a little money, Binta said, “Here’s a few cents to buy a little plastic bag of water to drink.” Gotchi went to a small store where she bought one little plastic bag filled with water, and asked the owner for a second for free to give to her mom. Feeling sorry for the girl, he gave her several little bags “for tomorrow”, he said. Gotchi was proud to return with all her water bags, which she handed to her mom, who responded gently, “thank you, Gotchi”. The two used the extra water to wash their face and hands.
Photo: Wodaabe Fulani mother and child sharing a drink of water.