jeudi 8 mai 2008

Just what I need: Driver's License Juju!

Our arrondissement, the 18th, is known to be one of the most ethnically diverse in Paris. This is one of the things Maki and I most enjoy about it. There are really all kinds of people around and lots of cheap, good ethnic food. A few weekends ago we went out for a meal at a Cote d’Ivoirian restaurant, where I had a fish soup that came with the fish scales, head, eyeballs and everything. Very Indiana Jones. “Rootsy”, as a Trinidadian friend of ours would say (this is my official favorite word of the month. I’m managing to sneak it into every other sentence).

Particularly the area around the Barbes Rochechouart metro station has a very exotic feel to it. It has a bit of a seedy reputation, but I’ve never really felt threatened there at all. There’s lots of street life: hawkers of all sorts and you get the feeling that you’re in some sort of African bazaar. Among the “mealie ladies” flogging corn-on-the-cob “maïs, maïs, maïs”, and the sketchy looking dudes selling Marlboros and counterfeit Dolce Gabbana belts, there are a bunch of people handing out advertisements like the one below:

I’m starting to build a small collection of these.
Monsieur Sakho is what is known locally as a “marabout”. Those of you in Miami might recognize that as a “santero”. For the rest of you: a witch doctor or juju man. In this bold piece of advertising, Monsieur Sakho promises to “resolve all problems: don’t hesitate to contact me whatever your problem, there is always a solution. If you want to be loved or if your partner has left you for somebody else, that’s my specialty. You will be loved and your partner will come back to you. I will build a perfect understanding between you based on love. He or she will run after you like a dog behind its master.” Hmmm, like a dog behind its master, eh? Monsieur Sakho sounds like a kinky devil. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

Even more interesting, below that he advertises his services in the fields of “marriage, luck, success, exams, contests, business, drivers license”. Did you catch that last one? Drivers licenses! You may recall from my post last week about how difficult it is to get drivers licenses over here that I’m having quite a hard time with it myself. Well, now I know that that whatever my problem, there is always a solution. I now understand how the local people manage to get around bureaucratic hassle in this country: sorcery! Instead of going to the US Embassy and calling my high school, I should have gone to see Monsieur Sakho. Next time, I’ll know. I wish I had known about Monsieur Sakho when I lived in DC, he might have got me out of paying some parking tickets.

1 commentaire:

Colleen (CQ in DC / quinncx) a dit…

ahhh- sorcery...that was always my favorite line in the crime logs in Kuwaiti newspapers- people were regularly convicted of "sorcery". Made for an interesting section in the Human Rights Report!