Josh & Julie Korn: A Griot at CURE Niger

It is always fun getting to know the children who come to our hospital, but it is also great getting to know their parents. Some of them spend quite a bit of time here, so they really get to know the staff of the hospital, and develop a real relationship with them.

Recently, we had a mom here at the CURE hospital who is something of a griot. Her name is Habi, and she would sing each morning when we would come to the patient guesthouse to visit with the patients. Over time I started noticing that she was mentioning CURE in her song. I listened closer, and noticed that she was mentioning the names of different staff members as well. One day I finally asked someone what she was singing about, since it is in Hausa, and they explained that she is singing about the hospital and everyone in it. So we asked her to perform it, and she was glad to:

She went on for a very long time, and sang the praise of just about our whole staff, mentioning everyone by name, from the doctor to the janitor. She also gave a useful overview of the hospital – here is a rough translation:

“If you have a health problem,
There is a place you can go.
It is called ‘CURE’ and it is in Niamey.
You can go there if you have a burn,
You can go there if you have a cleft lip,
You can go there if you have a clubfoot,
They can heal you.
First you go to Niamey, and you ask for ‘Lazaret.’
Then you go to Lazaret, and you ask for ‘CURE.’
Then they will show you the hospital.
You will meet all the patients and their families.
They all come to CURE.
You will meet the nurses, they will take care of you.
You will meet the doctor, he will do the operation.
You will meet the guards, they spend the night there.
You will meet the cooks, they prepare your meals.”

Etc.

We have been doing quite a bit of publicity for the hospital recently, but I think it would probably be best to get Habi to perform on the radio, especially since the radio is the main means of mass communication here in Niger.

Rahanatou, with the same infectious smile as her mom.

Rahanatou, with the same infectious smile as her mom, Habi.

 Originally posted at: http://joshjulieblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/a-griot-at-cure/.


Photo of the Josh Korn

About the Author:

Josh leads CURE's Grants Management Office. He previously served CURE in Niamey, Niger, first as a spiritual director, then as executive director of the CURE Hôpital de Enfants.

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