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  • I need you to know that this story has has a million beginnings. Beautiful beginnings. At one point my theme was age. Later I spoke of travel in rain forests. Donuts are involved. A few Marxist themes wove their way through some dialog. Everything is beautiful in this story.

    Mama Malik is a respected elder in her community. We never really figured out how old she is. But I can tell you now...she can travel.

    I was an avid reporter. A diligent ethnographer. A manic writer. She? Well, she seemed to accept that.

    I would arrive in an upland village (5 miles from the city). 2 days later I was in a downtown bar. 6 hours later I was hugging our host. And she would be gone.

    3 months gone...

    She sees me in the village market. How are you? How have you been?

    I have stolen from her with her permission. This is what an ethnographer does. I have stolen her stories. I have written them down and I left her there and maybe she has abandoned me as well. I hope she has. I am a long time in coming back. I miss her.
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