In the summer of 1991 Bill and I got to go to Nigeria to participate in a two-month summer language program, the Hausa Intensive Advanced Institute (your tax dollars and mine at work!). We had been studying Hausa, a language spoken primarily in northern Nigeria and southern Niger, for two years. Hausa culture is predominantly Muslim, and we arrived in Kano (a city of 5 million people and regional capital) just before a major religious holiday, the Babbar Salla in Hausa ("great festival") or Id al Kabir in Arabic (same translation), celebrating the return of pilgrims from the Hajj and commemorating Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son (who is Ishmael in the Muslim version, not Isaac). It was a tremendous experience.
We lived in a group house with the 14 other students in the program, studied Hausa in classrooms on the Bayero University campus, and took several field trips in the region. I never really got the hang of bargaining in the markets (I'm not very assertive), but I did learn how to get around in Kano and take the bus instead of taxis. Bill apprenticed himself at the indigo dye pits at Kofar Mata (the Women's Gate of the Old City, the walls of which are still standing within the larger urban spread of Kano), and generally endeared himself to everyone we met by walking up to them and asking, in Hausa, about the tools of their trade (which he already knew something about).
While we were in Kano I attended the Hausa congregation of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA-Hausa), and became a temporary member of their Women's Fellowship Choir. I hoped to return to Kano to study the music of this church for my doctoral dissertation, but failed to obtain funding (largely due to political unrest that broke out after our visit).
Some of the pictures in this part of the Photo Album are accompanied by clips of the tape recordings I made at the various events we attended and at ECWA (or will be, once I get them posted).
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