Xaliis bii

Alison Rivera - Senegal

February 11, 2013

The kids call me money “xaliis,” “l’argent.” They pull literally my skirt but figuratively my head out of the clouds for America isn’t a hero here but more of an arrogant exhibitionist. I thought all “Toubabs” were viewed the same until I met an old French man. Being a good host to his model wife’s friends, he kept me entertained by showing me his extensive movie collection. Genres already revealing the personality of this foreign man. I dragged my fingers along French titles and I picked up one… “Requiem for a Dream”. He chuckled and told me in Frenglish how it was an European critic on American culture. He then listed a few words… hamburger, drugs, superstars, pizza, money… He said enough, for he too called me money. I felt even more foreign and misunderstood, but we both were. When I think of France, I think of tiny gold and pink rimmed off white porcelain cups. Carefully and elegantly pouring the tea inside, for the cups were as fragile as a pristine rose. But here I am with a little bit of France in Senegal, a Paris in Dakar. There are no porcelain tea cups or little chairs in this man’s house.

I don’t have a wad of hundreds in my left jean pocket and no, I am not going to buy you a car. If there is one thing I’m not, it’s money. I am just a human … you know.

Alison Rivera