Tales from the Heart

A few pages from a series of comic books by Cindy Goff, Rafael Nieves, and Seitu Hayden.

This work is copyright 1988 by Goff, Nieves, and Hayden, and I violate their copyright with hope that it won't bother them. The books were published by Slave Labor Graphics, 983 S. Bascom Ave., San Jose California 95128, 1-800-866-8929, and can be purchased through them at quite good prices, I believe.

Cindy was a Peace Corps volunteer in Central African Republic, I think 83-85. She tells stories from her experiences, putting Cathy Grant in her place. The stories can be quite poignant, but provide a wide range of feelings. The art is great, as can be appreciated from these few examples.

The pages reproduced here are from Tales from the Heart No. 3, Chapter 4: Fits & Starts. The prologue shows the freshly-trained friends Cathy, Julie, Constance, and Karen heading up country to their posts, driven by Barry, with whom they are not close.

After getting Cathy barely settled, all the other Americans take off, leaving her hungry and curious. She asks her way to the market, which turns out to be a few women sitting under some mango trees.

Cathy knows a bit of Sango, but apparently has spent too much time with Americans, and can't deal with Central Africans speaking their national language. The learning process illustrated so well here is probably universal.

I have provided a few translations on top of these pages. I apologize for the poor quality of the images. I provide a copy of the text below each page.

Panel 1: Cathy says "Bara ala!" which is the greeting to more than one person. She thinks to herself, "Nothing but peanut sticks [a snack food] and onions here."

Panel 2: She says to herself, "It definitely looks like tuna fish tonight. Hope Brenda [her postmate] has a can opener." Somebody speaks to her in what sounds like gibberish to Cathy: "Baraminguimademoisellelleiriti...". I presume the extra "lle" is a typo.

Panel 3: The woman continues "mbiSimonembiyetisalakwanam" while Cathy says "W-what?".

Panel 4: "Mbitene!IritimbiSimoneMbiyetitenetenamotenetikwati-". Cathy catches the basic phrase: "Iri ti mo - Simone? Oui? I don't quite...". Somebody new pipes in "Mademoiselle!..."

Panel 5: He continues "...gasi! Gatibadatimbi!" Cathy replies "Bara mo." He insists "Ganambitibadatimbi!" She fortunately doesn't understand, and says, "I'm sorry. I can't - slower - uh yeke yeke."

Panel 6: She is now lost and confused as they try to get things out of her: "Mbiyetitienetenetibongotimo-" and "...moyetilue...rmbenifin...datimbi...". Cathy just says "Excuse me... but... er... I... uh... ..."

Panel 7: Cathy turns red presumably and says "Sorry, I have to... uh" while they wonder about this moundjou.

Panel 8: The caption reads "My cheeks red and burning, I raced back to the hut. I'd been so smug about my knowledge of Sango before in front of my friends. NOW..."

A quick glossary of some of the Sango:

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Date created: 1/3/97
Last modified: 12 December 2005
Maintained by: Alan Saul