Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.

Gustave Flaubert – Madame Bovary

I can barely speak Wolof and I have been here for ten months. I speak halted, fractured semi-sentences that convey meaning yet little melody. I still stare on bemused at people who I know are asking me simple questions, as if to a child, whilst I fumble through with an illiterate reading of body language and banal repetitions of what the person has just said to me. I couldn’t melt a candle, let alone the stars.

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